U.S. stock index futures came off their highs Friday following the monthly government employment report that showed non-farm payrolls rose less than expected, but still remained in positive territory amid expectations that the weak data would prompt further easing from the Federal Reserve.
Non-farm payrolls gained only 96,000 in August, missing expectations for an increase of 125,000, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate declined to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but the drop is largely attributed to people giving up looking for work.
“This number was a bit of a surprise, especially after the strong ADP report that came in far above expectations [on Thursday],” said Joe Bell, senior equities analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “You still have a group of market participants thinking that bad market data’s not all that bad because the Fed may step in.”
Stocks surged on Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing at its highest since 2008, fueled by the ECB's announcement it will purchases bonds of struggling euro zone countries to bring down their borrowing costs.
ECB President Mario Draghi said the program could potentially allow unlimited short-term bond purchases, but strict conditions would apply.
Futures were also buoyed after China gave the green light for 60 infrastructure projects to boost economic growth. Analysts say the new projects will total more than $157 billion, or 2.1 percent of the nation's economy.
Intel slumped after the chipmaker cut its third-quarter revenueforecast, citing softer demand due to the weak macroeconomic environment.
Apple has lowered its orders for memory chips for its new iPhone from its main supplier Samsung, as it seeks to diversify its supply lines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Lululemon gained after the yoga-apparel retailer posted higher earnings and lifted its full-year profit and revenue outlook.
—By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
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