Stocks futures rally after upbeat November jobs report
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday, after the nonfarm payrolls report for November cast a positive light on the economy, but likely did not move any cuts in stimulus by the Federal Reserve into this month.
"We do have this Fed meeting coming up, but that's right over the Christmas holidays. It would be odd timing," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.
"It was a really good jobs report. There were a lot of positives in there. Besides the unemployment rate getting down to 7 percent, manufacturing jobs are at their best level in over a year. Construction jobs being higher again is always good for the economy," Kinahan added.
The government's jobs report found 203,000 jobs were added in November, with the jobless rate falling to 7.0 percent. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected that 180,000 jobs were created last month, with unemployment marginally lower at 7.2 percent.
The report is seen as key in whether the Federal Reserve starts to scale back its massive asset purchases after it meets this month, a prospect that has sent markets lurching into negative territory in recent sessions.
(CNBC Explains: Tapering)
"This number is very important as it will help form a lot of market opinions ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) in just under two weeks. It may even be the swing factor for the Fed," said Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid and Anthony Ip in a morning research note.
"Our base case is that they won't taper, but it's a closer call than we thought it would be a few weeks back."
In corporate news, American Eagle Outfitters forecast current-quarter profit under expectations, with the teen-apparel retailer citing holiday discounts. Its shares fell nearly 5 percent in early New York trading.
The benchmark Nikkei snapped two sessions of losses after the Japanese government approved a $182 billion stimulus package. Aimed at dulling the impact of an upcoming tax hike, the measures are expected to add 1 percentage point to gross domestic product.
— By CNBC's Katy Barnato