* Payrolls report tops expectations
* Wholesale trade data on tap
* AbbVie forecast 2015 earnings above expectations
* Futures up: Dow 4 pts, S&P 1.25 pts, Nasdaq 10.5 pts (Adds quote, data)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were poised to open little changed on Friday, after a two-day rally in equities put the S&P 500 back in positive territory for the new year and following a stronger-than-expected monthly payrolls report.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 252,000 in December, topping expectations for an increase of 240,000, while November’s outsized 321,000 increase was revised higher to 353,000. The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point to a 6-1/2 year low of 5.6 percent.
Futures traded lower ahead of the data, then trimmed losses to turn slightly positive after the release.
The S&P 500 added 3 percent over the last two sessions, retracing a good portion of its 4.2 percent loss in the previous five trading days, on expectations the U.S. economy will continue to accelerate and hopes the European Central Bank will take more aggressive stimulus action in the coming weeks.
“What we are seeing is a tug of war between the worries about slowing global growth and whether European policymakers can boost growth there,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
“So there are still worries about the rest of the world, but the perception the U.S. is far enough away, and a big enough island that the waves of worry from the rest of the world don’t matter so much, is reinforced by today’s jobs report.”
S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 1.25 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a flat open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 4 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 10.5 points.
The two-day run has put the S&P slightly higher for the week, up 0.2 percent, with the Dow up 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq up 0.2 percent.
Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), wholesale trade data for November is expected. Inventories are estimated to climb 0.3 percent versus a 0.4 percent increase in October.
AbbVie forecast 2015 earnings largely above analysts’ average estimate after the close on Thursday, betting on its recently approved hepatitis C drug and growth in its auto-immune disease treatment, Humira. Its shares slipped 0.2 percent to $ 67.50 in premarket.
Five Below slumped 14.8 percent to $ 37.15 before the opening bell after the discount retailer forecast fourth quarter sales and earnings below Wall Street forecasts.
U.S.-listed shares of Infosys rose 7 percent to $ 33.37 in premarket after India’s second-largest software services exporter beat forecasts and maintained its sales growth outlook for the year.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
- Investment & Company Information