In the Headlines
Stocks were poised for a moderately higher ahead of the monthly event that's come to be known as "Jobs Friday." The Labor Department is set to release its eagerly anticipated January employment numbers this morning, an event with high market-moving potential.
European shares got a lift from some better-than expected results in eurozone purchasing managers' survey. Major indices in the region were showing gains early Friday.
The euro was trading higher vs. the dollar before Wall Street's open.
In Asia, the lack of resolution on Greek debt talks weighed on shares, with indices finishing mixed. Relief that China's economy seems to be healthier than earlier thought sent the Shanghai Composite higher by 0.77%.
The Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report, due out at 8:30 a.m. EST, is expected to show an increase of 125,000 new jobs, down from last month's level of 200,000. Holiday-season employment trends are expected to factor into a decline.
At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department issues data on December factory orders. Economists are eyeing a gain of 1.5%, following November's increase of 1.8%.
Also at 10, the Institute for Supply Management releases its services index. The reading is expected to come in with a reading of 53.1 for January, showing some expansion from December's level of 52.6.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose $0.13 to $96.49 per barrel in early Nymex trade.
Industrial metal copper gained $0.0135, following Europe's bullish economic data early Friday, to $3.79 per pound.
Gold, meanwhile, was up $0.40 an ounce to $1,759.70.
In earnings news, cosmetics maker Estee Lauder (EL) earned $1.01 per share, in line with views. Revenue was $2.74 billion, somewhat shy of expectations for $2.75 billion. The company slashed its 2012 earnings guidance. The stock wasn't looking so pretty ahead of the open, falling $1.86, 3.16%, to $56.99.
Alcoholic beverage maker Beam (BEAM) beat earnings views by $0.02, bringing in $0.69 per share, excluding items. Revenue, however, fell short, coming in at $637.5 million, vs. expectations for $653 million. Ahead of today's announcement, the stock had been showing bullish price action above its 10-week moving average.
Tyson Foods (TSN) trounced earnings estimates ahead of Friday's open, reporting first-quarter income of $0.42 per share. Wall Street had pegged profit at $0.33 a share. Revenue was slightly ahead of views, at $8.32 billion vs. analysts' call for $8.3 billion. The shares jumped $0.55, 2.95%, to $19.17 in the premarket.
An early decliner was Wynn Resorts (WYNN), which beat fourth-quarter views Thursday, citing improvement in its Macau and Las Vegas businesses. However, concerns about a possible Macau slowdown sent traders to the "sell" button. The shares fell $3.94, or 3.26%, to $116.84 early Friday.
A big S&P 500 gainer in the premarket was Sunoco (SUN), which climbed $2.75, 7.19%, to $41. On Thursday, the company reported a pretax loss, but named Brian MacDonald its new CEO, replacing Lynn Elsenhans. MacDonald had previously been CFO.
In analyst actions, Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), which has been a fundamental and technical leader in recent months, was upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman Sachs. The analyst cited growth potential, strength in the company's products -- which treat rare diseases -- and the possibility that the company could be an acquisition target. Alexion rallied to an all-time high of $78.51 on Thursday. Ahead of Friday's open, the shares tacked on another $2.11, or 2.71%, to $79.89.