NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were headed for a higher open Friday, following a stronger-than-expected jobs report.
The U.S. economy gained 200,000 jobs in December, according to the Labor Department. Economist had expected a gain of 150,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also slipped to 8.5%.
Stock futures, which were slightly higher before the report, built on those gains.
Dow Jones industrial average (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) futures were up about 0.4% in premarket trading. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
"The markets have had a more positive tone this week, and investors seem to be looking for an excuse to take the markets higher," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.
Economy: In addition to the stronger jobs numbers, the unemployment rate fell more than expected, sliding to 8.5% in December.
Economists were forecasting the unemployment rate to tick up to 8.7% from 8.6% in November, mainly due to discouraged workers -- who had previously given up their job searches -- re-entering the labor force.
World markets: European stocks rose in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 ( ) edged higher 0.8% and France's CAC 40 ( ) rose 0.9%, while the DAX ( ) in Germany gained 0.6%.
Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite () gained 0.7%, while the Hang Seng ( ) in Hong Kong lost 1.2% and Japan's Nikkei ( ) fell 1.2%.
Companies: Shares of Dow component Alcoa ( , Fortune 500) fell more than 2% in premarket trading, after the aluminum producer said it will cuts its global smelting capacity 12% in response to a drop in aluminum prices.
Oil for February delivery added 38 cents to $102.19 a barrel.
Gold futures for February delivery gained $3.60 to $1,623.70 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2%.
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