US STOCKS-Futures climb in strong week for Wall Street


New York (Reuters): Futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday as U.S. stocks looked set to extend a new year rally that has pushed indexes to record levels on signs of robust growth across major economies.

Investors are awaiting the December U.S. payrolls numbers later on Friday. The data is expected to show employers maintained a brisk pace of hiring in December while increasing wages for workers.

The report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), could support Thursday’s data that showed private employers added a stronger-than-expected 250,000 jobs in December.

At 6:55 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 84 points, or 0.34 percent, with 15,398 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 8 points, or 0.29 percent, with 84,818 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 24.5 points, or 0.37 percent, on volume of 18,710 contracts.

The blue-chip Dow industrials closed above 25,000 for the first time on Thursday, its quickest 5,000-point climb since the index was created in 1896, and also at a time when volatility is at historically low levels.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday the U.S. tax overhaul is already pushing up equity prices and is likely to boost growth and investment, but should not force the central bank to raise interest rates any faster than expected.

The Fed expects to hike rates thrice in 2018, but it is doubtful that investors have priced in as many.

Philadelphia Fed Chief Patrick Harker and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester are expected to speak later in the day.

Data on factory orders and international trade deficit for November as well as non-manufacturing PMI for December are also scheduled to be released on Friday.

Among stocks, Francesca’s Holdings (FRAN.O) tanked 15 percent premarket after the women’s apparel and accessories maker said it expected up to 17 percent decline in current-quarter same-store sales.

Schlumberger (SLB.N) fell 0.8 percent and Chevron (CVX.N) 0.5 percent tracking oil prices, which fell from highs last seen in 2015 on soaring U.S. production. [O/R] Cisco’s (CSCO.O) shares rose about 2 percent after BofA Merrill Lynch brokers upgraded the stock to “buy”.

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