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Stock Futures firm ahead of key jobs report

Kitco News

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, helped by gains in high-growth technology names including Apple, while investors turned to the closely watched jobs report for confirmation that the world’s largest economy remains healthy.

The Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls report is likely to show U.S. job growth slowed in December, but the pace of hiring probably remains more than enough to keep the longest economic expansion in history chugging along.

The data, which is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), could determine whether or not Wall street’s three main indexes will rise beyond Thursday’s all-time closing highs at the open.

Signs that the United States and Iran will stand down on further military action, and firming hopes that an initial U.S.-China trade deal will be signed next week have helped U.S. stocks recover from a blip earlier this week caused by flaring tensions in the Middle East.

At current levels, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to breach 29,000 points at the open. Futures tracking Dow 1YMcv1 were up 65 points, or 0.22% at 7:00 a.m. ET.

S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 9 points, or 0.27% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 39.75 points, or 0.44%.

Technology stocks .SPLRCT, the market leaders of the last decade, were on track for sharpest gains among the 11 main S&P sectors in the first full trading week of 2019.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) rose 0.7% in premarket trading after Credit Suisse became the latest to raise its price target on the stock, citing better-than-feared iPhone 11 cycle so far.

Apple suppliers Qorvo Inc (QRVO.O) and Skyworks Solutions Inc (SWKS.O) also gained more than 2% each after Mizuho upgraded both the stocks to “buy” on an improving 5G handset outlook.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) was up 0.7% after a report Bernstein started coverage on the stock with an “outperform” rating.

With the fourth-quarter earnings season set to begin in earnest next week, analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies to drop 0.6% in their second consecutive quarterly decline, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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