Stocks: Investors cheer jobs report

@CNNMoneyInvest February 3, 2012: 9:01 AM ET

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Investors are gearing up for a rally following a much stronger than expected report on January job growth.

S&P 500 (SPX), Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were nearly flat prior to the report, but soared more than 1% immediately after its release Thursday morning. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January, far exceeding expectations. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected the Labor Department to report an increase of 130,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate was expected to rise to 8.6%.

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Economists had expected a slowdown in post-holiday hiring, considering that about 40,000 temporary couriers were hired for the holidays alone.

Investors will also remain on the lookout for an official agreement on a debt-reduction plan, and second bailout for Greece. The deal is expected to come by the end of the week, though deadlines have been missed in the past.

Reports are also due Friday on factory orders and the service sector. Also, a slew of corporate results came out on Thursday morning.

World markets: European stocks were higher in midday trading, but lost some of their morning momentum. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) rose 0.4% while the DAX (DAX) in Germany and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) were nearly flat%.

Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) rose 0.8%, while the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong was flat and Japan's Nikkei (N225) slipped 0.5%.

Economy: Factory orders for December are expected to have risen 1.5%, according to a survey of analysts by The January installment of the ISM Services Index is expected to hit 53.1, up from 52.6 in the month prior.

Companies: Tyson Foods (TSN, Fortune 500) reported profits better-than-expected earnings and issued slightly upbeat guidance. The stock rose 3% in premarket trading.

Defense contractor Booz Allen (BAH, Fortune 500) reported strong earnings, lifting the stock 2% in premarket trading.

Estee Lauder (EL, Fortune 500) reported a 15% profit increase in the fourth quarter to $597 million, but its stock dropped 7% in premarket trading.

Zynga (ZNGA) shares continue to rise, after Facebook's IPO revealed the gamemaker accounted for 12% of its revenue in 2011. Zynga shares rose 5% in premarket trading Friday.

Research in Motion (RIMM) shares slipped 1% in premarket trading, after the Blackberry-maker said it will give its tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook out to Android developers in exchange for their apps.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro and the British pound, but rose versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for March delivery rose 59 cents to $96.94 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $8.40 to $1,750.90 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.83% from 1.82% late Thursday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,462.94 -201.95 -0.82%
Nasdaq 7,146.13 -91.93 -1.27%
S&P 500 2,670.14 -22.99 -0.85%
Treasuries 2.95 0.04 1.27%
Data as of 7:33pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 14.54 0.55 3.93%
Bank of America Corp... 30.26 0.08 0.27%
Apple Inc 165.72 -7.08 -4.10%
Ford Motor Co 10.82 -0.14 -1.28%
Advanced Micro Devic... 9.99 -0.12 -1.19%
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