RTRS: Wall St. set to open higher after strong jobs data; IBM drops
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks were on track to open higher on Friday after a report showed U.S. job growth accelerated sharply last month, pointing to the strength of the labor market and increasing the odds of an interest rate hike next month.
However, the markets' gains are likely to be capped by IBM (IBM.N), whose shares tumbled 3.3 percent premarket after Warren Buffett said he sold about a third of his stake in the technology giant.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 211,000 in April, the Labor Department said, well above the monthly average of 185,000 for this year and a jump from the gain of 79,000 in March. The unemployment rate fell to a near 10-year low.
"The market will like this number because there was some concern that the economy was slowing a little bit," said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.
The Federal Reserve was not "giving much credence to some of the slower economic numbers in the first quarter, and this would confirm that view."
The odds of a rate hike in June jumped to 75 percent, from 70 percent before the jobs report, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 9 points, or 0.04 percent, with 23,475 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 5 points, or 0.21 percent, with 126,096 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 12.75 points, or 0.23 percent, on volume of 24,377 contracts.
Wall Street ended flat on Thursday as a steep fall in oil prices countered some solid earnings reports.
Oil prices are trading near five-month lows, triggering demand for safe-haven assets. Gold is likely to remain in favor ahead of the final round of the French presidential election on Sunday.
Among stocks, Zynga (ZNGA.O) jumped nearly 11 percent to $3.14 after the creator of FarmVille gave a strong current-quarter bookings forecast.
Universal Display (OLED.O) surged more than 17 percent to $105.50 after the company's quarterly revenue blew past analysts' expectations.
VWR Corp (VWR.O) slipped 4.4 percent to $32.55 after a private equity firm said it would buy the lab supplies company at a discount to its Thursday's close.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)