for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up
Company News

US STOCKS-Wall St to test 2-yr high on jobs data

* S&P 500 faces strong resistance after two-day rally

* Payrolls data on tap, unemployment seen unchanged

* Futures up: Dow 6 pts, S&P 2.7 pts, Nasdaq 5 pts

* for up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US] (Updates prices, adds quote, byline)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s largest two-day rally in three months will be tested by jobs data on Friday, with some in the market predicting a strong report that will push the S&P 500 to a fresh two-year high.

Non-farm payrolls figures, due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) are expected to show U.S. employers added 140,000 jobs in November after a rise of 151,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is seen remaining at 9.6 percent.

The U.S. economic conditions in the services sector as well as factory orders data are due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT).

“There’s no reason to believe these numbers are not coming as expected, if not better,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist for Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

“But you don’t want to see a ‘sell the news’ scenario. If (the S&P 500) can’t get through this technical resistance points that are now in play, I’d be concerned, especially if the (economic) news is good.”

The S&P 500 .SPX closed at 1,221.53 on Thursday and faces strong technical resistance around 1,228, in the area of a recent high of more than two years and also the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the index's slide from October 2007 to March 2009, a key technical indicator.

S&P 500 futures SPc1 edged up 2.7 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 DJc1 gained 6 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 added 5 points.

Wall Street climbed for a second day Thursday as concerns about Europe's sovereign debt crisis waned, prompting investors to reverse bearish bets on the market. The S&P 500 .SPX rose 3.5 percent over the two sessions, its largest such advance since early September.

The euro edged higher as the European Central Bank continued to buy euro zone government bonds in moderate amounts to counter a destabilizing rise in peripheral countries’ borrowing costs. That soothed investor nerves and helped the currency rebound from a 2-1/2 month low that had weighed on U.S. and global equity markets. [ID:nLDE6B20AX]

“Stability in the euro is absolutely critical” for the uptrend in stocks to continue, Windham’s Mendelsohn said.

In company news, U.S.-based mining group Walter Energy Inc WLT.N agreed to buy Canada's Western Coal Corp WTN.TOWTN.L for about $3.25 billion to create the world's leading metallurgical coal producer. [ID:nLDE6B20EU]

European Union antitrust regulators have raided the offices of some pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca Plc AZN.LAZN.N, suspected of colluding to block cheaper generic drugs from entering the market. [ID:nLDE6B20MP]

China will switch to a prudent monetary policy from a moderately loose stance, the Communist Party’s top leaders decided Friday, a change that could pave the way for more interest rate increases and lending controls. [ID:nTOE6B2048] (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up