Futures Rally After Robust Nonfarm Payrolls Report
U.S. stock futures added to gains Friday following a stronger-than-expected monthly government payrolls number, putting the Dow on track for another record high.
The U.S. added 236,000 jobs in February, with the unemployment rate declining to 7.7 percent, according to the Labor Department, trumping expectations for a gain of 160,000 and a rate of 7.9 percent.
McDonald's said its same-store sales in February dipped 1.5 percent as consumers grew more cautious due to weak economic growth and higher taxes. Still, shares gained as the result beat expectations.
Google edged higher after the Internet giant announced that its Motorola Mobility division will cut another 1,200 jobs or 10 percent of its workforce as the smartphone maker tries to return to profitability.
Among earnings, Foot Locker posted earnings that matched Wall Street expectations, while revenue edged past estimates. Still, shares declined.
Pandora surged after the music-streaming service edged past earnings and revenue expectations and handed in current-quarter and full-year 2014 revenue guidance that were better than Wall Street estimates. In addition, the company said its board has formed a search committee to look for a new CEO. At least six brokerages boosted their price target on the company.
Skullcandy plunged after the headphone maker posted earnings that missed expectations and warned that it expects to see a loss in the first quarter, disappointing analysts who had expected a gain.
Investors will be watching financial stocks on Friday after all but one of the 18 biggest banks in the U.S. passed the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests. The tests measure the banks' performance and key capital ratios and judge whether banks can return capital to shareholders.
Ally Financial was the only lender that did not pass the minimum capital buffer and Citigroup was called the "most improved" of the banks tested. Citigroup said it had asked the Federal Reserve permission to spend $1.2 billion to buy back its own stock.
Also on the economic front, the Commerce Department is expected to release wholesale inventories for January at 10 am ET. Economists expect a gain of 0.3 percent against a decline of 0.1 percent in December, according to a Reuters survey.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei jumped to a new four-and-half-year high in Friday's session, thanks to the yen's decline and revised growth figures showing the Japanese economy stabilized in the fourth quarter of 2012 after two quarters of a shallow recession.
China posted strong trade data which showed exports rising 22 percent in February from a year ago, though imports were weaker than forecast.