Futures Hold Strong Gains After Jobs Report

Futures held their sharp gains Friday following news employment growth picked up momentum in November while the jobless rate fell to its lowest level in more than two years.

Non-farm payrolls increased 120,000 last month, according to the Labor Department, while the jobless rate declined to a 2-1/2 year low of 8.6 percent. Economists had expected for a gain of 122,000.

"Today's jobs report is a game-changer for Main Street," said Todd Schoenberger, managing director of LandColt Trading. "Americans will focus on the drop in the unemployment rate, rather than getting into the weeds of how we got there. Look for confidence and sentiment to improve, which could translate into an improved outlook as we enter 2012."

Developments in Europe will remain in focus on Friday as euro zone leaders race to find a lasting solution to the debt crisis.

They meet next Friday and are expected to discuss changes to the EU treaty to better enforce fiscal discipline.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said late on Thursday he would support more severe sanctions for budget sinners in Europe.

He meets UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday to discuss the euro zone debt crisis. Last time they met, Sarkozy said he was “sick of” Cameron telling euro zone leaders what to do.

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to German members of parliament that it was pointless to even consider Eurobonds. Merkel said there was no single quick fix and no fast and easy solution to the euro zone debt crisis, and called for a fiscal union and tighter controls.

Comcast , Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are planning on selling Advanced Wireless Spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 billion. Comcast, which owns more than 63 percent of Spectrum will receive approximately $2.3 billion from the sale. Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal.

Research In Motion tumbled after the BlackBerry maker warned it would fall short of its financial targetsafter taking a huge charge to write down the value of its PlayBook tablet.

Meanwhile, Australia’s high court extended a ban on sales of Samsung’s new tablet. And Apple is also trying to stop the Korean tech giant from selling Galaxy phones and tablets in the U.S.

Among earnings, H&R Block slumped after the tax prepared posted a wider-than-expected loss.

And Big Lots also declined even after the retailer posted earnings that beat estimates and also boosted its full-year outlook.