(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher opening on the Wall Street buoyed by a better-than-expected key jobs data and investors watched for progress on budget talks in Washington.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 68 points to 13,131. The Nasdaq futures gained 15.75 points to 2,669.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures added 6.70 points to 1,419.70.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' non-farm payrolls data showed addition of 146,000 jobs in November, up from a downwardly revised 138,000 jobs created in the previous month and also higher than economists expectations of 93,000 jobs. Jobless rate edged down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks closed on a modestly higher note as focus remained on negotiations in Washington over a deal to avert the the looming "fiscal cliff". Investors continue to remain concerned over whether lawmakers in Washington will be able to reach an agreement to address the cliff.
President Barack Obama has pushed for higher taxes on wealthy Americans to address the fiscal cliff of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that could hit economic growth.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: NFLX, MCD, MHP, AMRN, COO, PANW
In corporate news, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) may be in focus after the online video streaming company and its chief executive Reed Hastings received "Wells Notice" from the U.S. securities regulators over a social-network post in July. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff has questioned the Facebook (FB) post alleging Hastings violated rules governing selective disclosure.
McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) rose 1.23 percent in premarket. Janney Capital upgraded its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral".
McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. (NYSE: MHP) gained 2.27 percent in premarket after the information services provider declared a special dividend of $2.50 per share.
Amarin Corporation Plc (NASDAQ: AMRN) tumbled 18.58 percent in premarket after the Irish biopharmaceutical-company announced a $100 million non-equity financing and said it is hiring a sales force in the United States to commercialize Vascepa capsules.
Cooper Companies Inc. (NYSE: COO) posted earnings for the fourth quarter that missed Wall Street expectations.
Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW), a network security company, reported better-than-expected quarterly results amid contraction of margins and jump in operating expenses.
Esterline Technologies Corp. (NYSE: ESL) added 1.40 percent after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat market forecasts helped by strong growth across its business and lower cost of sales.
European markets traded modestly higher, with Germany's DAX up 0.15 percent to trade at 7,546.01. France's CAC40 rose 0.27 percent to trade at 3,611.36. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.22 percent to trade at 5,914.22.
Asian markets closed mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumping 1.60 percent to finish at 2,061.79. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.19 percent to finish at 9,527.39. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.26 percent to end at 22,191.17. India's BSE Sensex ended at 19,424.10, down 0.32 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures advanced 0.46 percent to $86.66 per barrel. Gold futures shed 0.59 percent to $1,691.80 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro dropped 0.56 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2898, and the British pound fell 0.21 percent to 1.6017. The dollar added 0.35 percent against the Japanese yen to 82.6900.