Stocks shake off jobs, GM

Futures head higher after government reveals fewer job losses than expected in July and despite whopping $15.5 billion loss by automaker GM.

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NEW YORK ( -- U.S. stock futures rebounded Friday following a better-than-expected July employment report and even as General Motors booked a nearly $16 billion loss.

Less than an hour before the open, Nasdaq and S&P futures were modestly higher, pointing to a positive open.

Jobs: The nation's economy lost 51,000 jobs during the month of July, the Labor Department reported, marking the seventh straight month that employers trimmed payrolls.

The number was better than expected as economists surveyed by were anticipating a loss of 75,000 jobs.

Still, that news was tempered by an increase in the rate of unemployment, which climbed to 5.7% - its highest level in four years. Economists were expecting the unemployment rate to finish the month at 5.6%.

GM: Futures turned lower earlier Friday after GM reported a hefty second-quarter net loss of $15.5 billion, or $27.33 per share. However the automaker said the loss was affected by $9.1 billion of predominantly non-cash special items.

GM (GM, Fortune 500) shares fell nearly 9% in premarket trading on the news.

GM, Ford (F, Fortune 500) and other automakers were also on tap to report their U.S. sales for July. Auto sales tracker predicted a 3.3% drop in auto sales compared to a year ago.

Oil prices: The price of crude fell for a second straight day. U.S. crude for September delivery fell $1.18 to $122.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Schering-Plough: Government regulators said Friday they would not approve an eagerly awaited drug developed by Schering-Plough (SGP, Fortune 500) that helps patients recover from anesthesia.

NYSE Euronext: Exchange operator NYSE Euronext (NYX) reported a net profit increase of 21%, helped in part by an increase in transactions. The results fell short of analysts' estimates.

Other markets: In Asia, stocks finished mostly lower on readings of weak growth in the U.S. economy. European markets retreated in midday trade. To top of page

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