U.S. stock futures were higher ahead of the opening bell.
The U.S. government reported that 236,000 jobs were added to the economy in February, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% from 7.9%. That was much better than the 170,000 and 7.8% expected by economists surveyed by CNNMoney.
The strengthening U.S. economy, and particularly job growth, has helped push stocks to new highs.
Online music streaming firm Pandora Media ( reported )better-than-expected quarterly sales and announced that its CEO will be stepping down. Pandora's shares soared in premarket trading.
Athletic shoe retailer Foot Locker (Fortune 500) reported a significant increase in sales and profit for the fourth quarter. But its stock dipped 4% in premarket trading. ,
Citigroup's (Fortune 500) shares gained more than 2% in premarket trading, following news that the bank passed the , Fed's stress test to gauge if it could weather another recession. Morgan Stanley (Fortune 500), , JPMorgan (Fortune 500) and , Goldman Sachs Group (Fortune 500) also passed the tests. ,
European markets were strong in midday trading, fueled by encouraging U.S. jobs data, while Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.2% and the Hang Seng added 1.4%. Japan's Nikkei increased 2.6% after the yen extended losses and revised data showed the country's economy has pulled out of a shallow recession.
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