Stocks: Mild boost from jobs

March 7, 2014: 9:10 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

After two consecutive months of disappointing U.S. employment figures, investors aren't placing any big bets ahead of Friday's February jobs report.

U.S. stock futures moved higher after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 175,000 jobs had been added in February, while the unemployment rate nudged up to 6.7%.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect that 150,000 jobs were added last month and that the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.6%.

Related: Weather maps can show why February hiring was weak

Aside from the jobs report, investors are also keeping tabs on the latest earnings.

Shares of Foot Locker (FL) jumped in premarket trading after the athletic apparel retailer reported stronger-than-expected results, including a 5.3% jump in same-store sales.

Shares of Big Lots (BIG) rose after the closeout retail chain slightly better quarterly revenue.

Valero Energy Partners (VLP) is also on deck to report quarterly results before the opening bell.

And shares in the supermarket chain Safeway (SWY) fell following news that it will be bought by Albertsons.

Related: Fear & Greed Index remains extremely greedy

U.S. stocks closed mostly higher Thursday, with the S&P 500 ending the day at an all-time closing high,

Stocks are approaching the five-year anniversary of the starting point of the current bull market. While some investors worry that stocks are overdue for a pullback, bulls say there's more room to run.

Markets were rocky earlier in the week as a political and economic crisis in Ukraine intensified and Russia troops got involved. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue, though many investors feel that the worst may be over. International leaders have instituted some sanctions against Russia and offered help to Ukraine as they try to resolve the situation.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

European markets declined in morning trading. Asian markets ended mixed. India's Sensex index rose by roughly 2%, while Japan's Nikkei closed with a gain of 0.9% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.2%.

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