Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Friday, although investors remained cautious ahead of the release of a highly anticipated report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate later in the day.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.17% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.29% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.52% climb.
Markets were jittery ahead of U.S. employment data to be released later in the trading session, which was expected to give more indications on the strength of the labor market''s recovery.
On Thursday, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 20,000 to 331,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 351,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 16,000.
Apple was expected to be active after the Wall Street Journal reported that the tech giant had repurchased USD14 billion worth of its own stock following disappointing results. The news sent the company''s shares up 2.22% in pre-market trade.
In the auto sector, General Motors added 0.28% in early trading, even as the company posted fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates. The automaker was affected by losses in Asia, outside of China, as well as higher taxes and restructuring in Europe.
Also in earnings news, News Corp. shares surged 3.45% in after-hour trade after the newspaper publisher beat profit expectations and posted gains in real-estate services and book publishing.
Elsewhere, Twitter was likely to remain in focus after shares in the social network group dove nearly 25% on Thursday following reports on sluggish user growth. The company regained some ground in extended trading, advancing 1.34%.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Moody''s Corporation and health insurer Cigna, scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 added 0.14%, France’s CAC 40 inched up 0.01%, Germany''s DAX rose 0.30%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 edged up 0.20%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index jumped 1%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.17%.
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