US STOCKS-Futures little changed on caution ahead of jobs report

Fri May 2, 2014 7:45am EDT

* U.S. jobs report to signal stronger growth momentum

* Astrazeneca rejects Pfizer's raised bid of $106 bln

* Futures: Dow up 3 pts, S&P up 1 pt, Nasdaq up 1 pt

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed Friday on caution ahead of the key U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for April.

* The payrolls report, due out at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), is expected to show U.S. hiring likely increased at its quickest pace in five months in April, which would bolster hopes of a strong rebound in economic activity in the second quarter.

* Employers probably added 210,000 jobs last month after increasing headcount by 192,000 in March, according to a Reuters poll. That would also beat the pace of payrolls gains in the first quarter, of 177,667 jobs per month.

* Data released Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend continued to point to improving labor market conditions.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures added 1 point and were in line with 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 3 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1 point.

* U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc 's sweetened 63 billion pound ($106 billion) bid for AstraZeneca Plc was promptly rejected by the British company Friday. Pfizer shares were little changed in premarket trade.

* LinkedIn Corp shares slipped more than 3 percent in premarket trading, a day after the social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below Wall Street's expectations, underscoring concerns about its ability to sustain its rapid growth and helping to drag its shares lower.

* German drugmaker Bayer AG is nearing an agreement to buy Merck & Co Inc's consumer healthcare unit, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that could value the business at around $14 billion.

* The S&P 500 ended little changed on Thursday as investors paused ahead of Friday's jobs report, though gains in Internet shares helped lift the Nasdaq. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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