US STOCKS-Futures edge up ahead of payrolls report
* April payrolls report on tap
* Weekend European elections eyed
* LinkedIn jumps on results, outlook
* Futures up: Dow 2 pts, S&P 0.5 pt, Nasdaq 8 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday ahead of a key report on the labor market, which could provide a clearer picture on the strength of the economic recovery.
The payrolls report from the Labor Department is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Employers likely added 170,000 workers last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, up from March's 120,000.
The ADP National Employment Report showed Wednesday that private-sector hiring slowed in April, while initial jobless benefit claims had the biggest decline in nearly a year, a report indicated Thursday.
Investors may also hesitate to place big bets ahead of the weekend as elections in Europe could bring about changes in the leadership of France and Greece in a backlash against austerity measures in response to the euro zone's debt crisis.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index slipped 0.3 percent.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.5 point and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 2 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8 points.
The S&P 500 suffered its first monthly decline of the year in April, and the benchmark index has struggled to convincingly pierce the key resistance level of 1,400 as investors have grappled with conflicting economic reports.
LinkedIn Corp jumped 9.9 percent to $120.20 in light premarket trade after the social networking website raised its outlook after smashing first-quarter revenue and profit expectations.
Of the 391 companies in the S&P 500 index reporting results, 68.3 percent have exceeded estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning.
Earnings are expected from 11 companies in the S&P 500 on Friday, including Estee Lauder Cos Inc and Exelon Corp .
United Parcel Service Inc approved a new $5 billion share buyback and increased the amount of cash to about $5 billion to help fund its purchase of Dutch company TNT Express .
Fruit and fresh vegetable distributor Dole Food Co Inc said it may spin off one or more units as part of a strategic business review and reported a lower quarterly revenue.
Asian shares fell for a second straight day and industrial commodities such as oil and copper were on course for weekly losses as soft U.S. data stoked fresh concerns a recovery was faltering.
- U.S. war veteran released by North Korea returns home |
- Pennsylvania newlyweds "just wanted to murder someone together:" police
- U.S. ice storm causes blackouts, delays in Texas, Arkansas
- WTO overcomes last minute hitch to reach its first global trade deal
- China's parliament: Japan has "no right to criticize" air defense zone