U.S. Futures Rise as U.S. Economy Adds 242,000 Jobs in February

 | Mar 04, 2016 | 8:56 AM EST
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U.S. stock futures were ticking up slightly premarket as markets look to build on the increases seen Thursday.

The latest nonfarm payrolls report was released Friday, with data showing the U.S. economy added 242,000 jobs in February, bringing the labor force participation rate to 62.9%. Analysts on average were expecting payrolls to rise by just 190,000. Unemployment remained unchanged at 4.9%. January's jobs report was also revised upward to 172,000 jobs added from 151,000. 

World markets were also performing well today, with all three major Asian indices advancing Friday. The Hang Seng led the pack, climbing 1.2% during the session. In Europe, the DAX, FTSE 100 and CAC 40 were all up 0.9% Friday with about three hours left in trading across the Atlantic.

Oil prices were falling earlier in trading Friday, but have recovered along with the release of the jobs report. Light crude was up 0.3% to $34.67 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while industry standard Brent crude contracts for April delivery were rising $0.17 to $37.24 per barrel.

The recovery of crude prices will be under scrutiny today as the latest oil rig count is expected to be released by Baker Hughes at 1 p.m. EST today. It is expected that the number of oil rigs actively drilling will continue to fall despite rising U.S. stockpiles. U.S. output fell 2.6% last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency estimates that crude production will decline from 8.7 million barrels a day in 2016 to 8.5 million barrels a day in 2017.

Turning back to stocks, Staples (SPLS) will face negative pressure today after the office supplies retailer missed analysts' fourth-quarter earnings expectations of $0.28 per share by two cents. Comps were also down and revenue missed the mark during the period.

Planet Fitness (PLNT) is climbing premarket after topping analysts' top- and bottom-line expectations for the fourth quarter. Additionally, the gym chain issued 2016 EPS guidance of between $0.60 and $0.63 on revenue between $355 million and $365 million. Analysts on average are expecting $0.59 and $320.2 million, respectively.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC) shares were rising premarket after topping third-quarter fiscal year 2016 (ending April) forecasts. The firearms manufacturer posted EPS of $0.59, easily topping analysts' $0.39 expectation. Revenue for the period rose 61.5% year over year as demand for firearms has gone through the roof in the U.S. in recent years.

Luxury travel luggage manufacturer Tumi (TUMI) was up slightly premarket after the company agreed to be acquired by rival Samsonite (SMSEY) for $1.8 billion. The purchase is Samsonite's largest since it first went public in 2011. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.

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