Stock futures turned sharply lower after a report showing the unemployment rate rising to 10.2 percent rattled Wall Street.
The Labor Department said employers cut 190,000 jobs in October, spiking the unemployment rate to its highest level in more than 26 years.
Outside the jobs report, the market was digesting a handful of earnings reports as the season draws to a close.
American International Group badly missed analyst estimates, posting a profit of 68 cents a share against expectations of $1.98. Shares tumbled 6.3 percent in premarket trading.
On the flip side, investors welcomed an after-the-bell Thursday report from Starbucks, which beat expectations with its latest report, and sents its shares up 4.2 percent premarket. Nvidiaalso beat consensus and saw its shares rise 6 percent while Activision Blizzard, matched Wall Street estimates and saw its shares pick up 4.9 percent.
Elsewhere, Amazon.com shares rose 2 percent after Bernstein upgraded the online retailer to "outperform" from "market perform." CNBC.com-parent General Electric also rose, gaining 2.5 percent after a similar upgrade from Bernstein.
In financials, State Street fell 1.2 percent after the company said it set aside an additional $250 million to cover losses from investors who lost money on risky mortgages.
U.S. stocks did have their best day since July 23 in Thursday's trading, in a session sandwiched in between the Wednesday conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and today's jobs report.
There are other numbers out today as well, though they'll likely not get nearly as much attention as the jobs report: wholesale inventories for September are out at 10 am, with forecasts calling for a drop of 1 percent. Consumer credit figures for September will be issued at 3 pm, with a drop of $10 billion representing the consensus forecast.
Other stocks to watch include Royal Bank of Scotland, which reported an operating loss of about $2.5 billion for the third quarter. The bank - majority owned by the UK government - did say it could reach profitability by 2011.