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Futures Surge After Strong Jobs Report

Stock index futures jumped after the government reported a surprisingly strong gain in jobs for April.

The brighter outlook for stocks reverses Thursday's price action, in which the blue-chip index sank about 139 pointsamid a broad sell-off in commodities.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 244,000 in April, up from a 221,000 gain in March, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate inched higher to 9 percent frpm 8.8 percent.

Private payrolls rose by 268,000 in April, up from a 231,000 gain in March. The rise was the biggest since February 2006.

Economists had expected the figures to show a slowdown in job creation, with gains of only 186,000 in April. The government previously said the eocnomy added 216,000 jobs in March.

"The jobs report is further evidence that QE2 (the second round of quantitative easing) is, indeed, working," said Todd Schoenberger, manager dirctor at LandColt Trading.

"Despite the recent poor readings on the labor front (ADP, jobless claims), payrolls are growing. And, it's obvious these jobs are sticky, and not of the temporary, part-time variety. Equities should rally on the news, especially following yesterday's dramatic sell-off," Schoenberger said.

Schoenberger was referring to the ADP Employment Reportof private sector job gains, which had showed anemic growth of only 179,000 jobs, while initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped to 474,000 for the week ended April 29. The reports added to weakness in the markets throughout the week.

Panic selling in oil, copper and silver led to the dollar's best day since October against major currencies on Thursday as investors fled to familiar safe havens.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on CNBC that the commodity selloff would help to calm inflation, which he said was good news.

In other economic news, consumer credit is expected to fall to $4.9 billion in March from in $7.6 billion in February, a Briefing.com poll showed. The data will be released at 1 p.m.

On the earnings front, Visa shares are in focus on Friday. The stock slipped in after-hours trade on Thursday following earnings that failed to beat expectations by the wide margins investors were once used to.

Kraft shares were also higher after the company reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimates.

And Citigroup was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal-weight" at Morgan Stanley.

On Tap This Week:

FRIDAY: Consumer credit, Alcoa shareholder meeting, flash crash anniversary; earnings tentatively scheduled after-the-bell from Berkshire Hathaway.

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