U.S. futures indicated a higher opening Friday after another strong jobs report. July's nonfarm payroll of 255,000 was well above Bloomberg consensus estimates of 185,000. Forecasters had been anticipating growth in nonfarm payroll to ease back after June's strong showing of 287,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9%.
Meanwhile, in Europe all of the markets were showing gains, led by the CAC 40. In Asia, the markets closed mixed. The Hang Seng finished up 1.4%, but the Nikkei closed flat and Shanghai Composite was down about 0.2%.
Shares of Rackspace (RAX) were surging by more than 17% before the bell on news that it is reportedly in talks to be sold to a private equity firm. Dow Jones Newswires reports that the data hosting technology company is in "advanced talks" to be taken private, adding that a deal could be announced as soon as this week. Rackspace has a market cap around $3 billion, but the deal could value the company at around $4 billion, according to a Barron's report.
Kraft Heinz (KHC) shares jumped more than 4% in early trading after posting stronger-than-expected quarterly results. The company reported adjusted earnings of $0.85 per share, a nearly 40% increase year over year. That beat Wall Street's forecast of $0.72 per share. Revenue of $6.79 billion was in line with analysts' estimates. Kraft is also raising its dividend to $0.60 per share, a 4.3% increase. Kraft Heinz is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio.
A strong earnings report also had shares of LinkedIn (LNKD) on the rise slightly. The professional networking platform posted adjusted earnings of $1.13 per share, surpassing analysts' estimate of $0.78 per share. Revenue of $932.7 million also beat analysts' expectations of $898.3 million. Membership rose 18% year over year to 450 million. In June, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that it would acquire the social professional network for $26.2 billion. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.Finally, LendingClub ( LC) is said to be discussing loan buying with Western Asset Management. Shares were rising slightly on the news. LendingClub is in talks with Western to set up a fund that would purchase as much as $1.5 billion of loans over time, Bloomberg reported. Western is a subsidiary of money manager Legg Mason ( LM) . A deal could be announced in the coming weeks, Bloomberg reported, but added that the agreement is not final and talks may not result in a transaction.