US STOCKS-Futures set to open higher after payroll report

Fri Oct 3, 2014 8:46am EDT
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK Oct 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday, adding to earlier gains, after the September jobs report came in ahead of expectations, though major indexes remained on track for a second straight weekly decline.

The non-farm payroll report showed 248,000 jobs added in the month, considerably more than the 215,000 expected. August's number was revised up to 180,000 from 142,000.

"This number will continue to support the notion that the economy is growing... and it isn't so strong that the Fed will raise rates anytime soon," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Futures rose further following the release of the report, though they remained on track to close the week lower. The recent market weakness was largely driven by the first diagnosis of a patient with Ebola in the United States.

Equities have been volatile of late. Over the past 250 sessions, the S&P 500 posted an average daily move of 14.7 points, which it has topped each day in the past seven sessions. The benchmark index fell as much as 1 percent on Thursday, at one point dropping under its 150-day moving average - a level it had not breached since November 2012 - before rebounding sharply. It closed little changed.

For the week, the Dow is down 1.8 percent, the S&P is down 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq is down 1.8 percent. It is the second straight weekly decline for all three.

The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of investor anxiety, is up about 30 percent over the past two weeks, though at the current 16.16, it remains below its long-term average of 20.

Futures snapshot at 0840 EDT:   Continued...