Stocks set to fall on jobs report

Lower open seen as Labor Department releases worse than expected employment reading.

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By staff

NEW YORK( -- U.S. stocks were set to open lower Friday as investors reacted to a worse-than expected government report on the job market.

At 8:36 a.m. ET, S&P 500, Nasdaq-100 and Dow Jones industrial average futures were lower, with losses deepening after the release of September job data.

Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Wall Street slumped Thursday amid worries about the strength of the economic recovery. The Dow plunged 200 points during the session.

Economy: Before the start of trading, the U.S. Labor Department released its monthly jobs report, showing that the economy lost 263,000 jobs in September, much worse than economists had forecast.

Employers were expected to have cut 175,000 jobs from their payrolls in September after cutting a revised 201,000 in August, according to consensus.

The unemployment rate edged up to 9.8% in September, as expected, from 9.7% the prior month.

Ahead of the report, Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Avalon Partners, said that a negative reading was likely to drag down stocks.

"The [market] momentum is down right now," said Cardillo, before the report. "What could turn it? The unemployment numbers. What could feed it? The unemployment numbers."

Companies: Embattled lender CIT (CIT, Fortune 500) launched late Thursday a debt exchange as part of a restructuring plan.

World markets: Stocks around the world retreated. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei sank 2.5%. Major European indexes posted losses in midday trading.

Oil and money: The dollar edged up versus the euro and the British pound, but slipped against the yen. The price of oil fell $1.06 to $69.76 a barrel. To top of page

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