US STOCKS-Futures imply higher open, payroll boosts Fed hopes

Fri Sep 6, 2013 9:04am EDT

* Payroll report misses expectations, July revised down

* Fed's Evans suggests tapering won't occur in September

* American Tower to buy Global Tower Partners for $4.8 bln

* Futures up: Dow 62 pts, S&P 7.2 pts, Nasdaq 9.25 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track for its fourth straight day of gains, as a weak jobs report supported the idea that the Federal Reserve would hold steady with its stimulus measures for now.

About 169,000 jobs were added in August, fewer than the 180,000 that had been expected, while the previous month's report was revised sharply lower.

Futures rose after the report, while the U.S. two-year Treasury note yield fell below 0.50 percent.

Investors had awaited the data for insight into the U.S. labor market and the report's implications for how long the Fed's accommodative monetary policies will continue. The central bank has said it would slow the program if economic growth meets its targets, and many market participants had expected the Fed to begin scaling back stimulus from September.

"Since the report and the revision are disappointing, that increases the odds of the Fed holding steady," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Rockwell Securities in New York. "That's why we're seeing a plunge in Treasury yields, which is positive for stock prices."

Before the report came out, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the Fed could begin to wind the stimulus down later this year, though he didn't specify a month.

S&P 500 futures rose 7.2 points and were 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 rose 62 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.25 points.

For the week thus far, the S&P 500 is up 1.4 percent, its best weekly performance since July. The Dow was on track to snap a four-week losing streak, rising 0.9 percent, while the Nasdaq is up 1.9 percent for the week.

Investors are continuing to assess the possibility of a U.S.-led strike against Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack against its civilians. U.S. President Barack Obama has received support in his bid to get Congressional authorization for a strike, though he also faces growing pressure at the Group of 20 summit in Russia not to use military force.

Syria has been a market driver over the past two weeks, sparking steep swings amplified by light trading volume around holidays.

Energy prices have been among the most volatile amid the geopolitical uncertainty, with investors concerned that military action in the Middle East will weigh on oil supplies. Crude oil has spiked about 2 percent over the past two weeks and rose 1 percent on Friday.

American Tower Corp rose 2.1 percent to $70.20 in premarket trading after the company agreed to buy Global Tower Partners for $4.8 billion.

Timken Co rose 6.2 percent to $64 before the bell, after the company's board approved a plan Thursday to spin off its steel business from its bearings and power transmission operations.

At least three brokers raised their price targets on Infoblox Inc a day after the network security company reported its fourth-quarter results. The stock jumped 14 percent to $40.09 in premarket trading.

Wall Street edged up on Thursday, rising for a third day after strong data indicated economic conditions were improving.

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