* S&P 500 on track for biggest weekly decline of 2013
* Jobs report on tap, weak payrolls could spark decline
* F5 Networks plunges in premarket after weak outlook
* Futures down: Dow 73 pts, S&P 8.3 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were
lower on Friday as investors looked to the release of nonfarm
payrolls data, which could be the latest in a series of reports
pointing to slowing growth.
* Analysts expect 200,000 jobs to have been added in March,
down from 236,000 added in February. The unemployment rate is
expected to remain at 7.7 percent.
* Equities have struggled for direction since the S&P 500
reached an all-time closing high earlier this week, and a
disappointing report may trigger a more protracted sell-off. The
S&P is down 0.6 percent so far this week, on track to be its
worst week of 2013.
* Earlier this week, private sector employment and jobless
claims data indicated weakness in the labor market. Reports on
the manufacturing and services sectors also disappointed.
* Investors will likely be looking for the payrolls report
to meet expectations. Stronger numbers than expected could raise
concerns that the Federal Reserve may slow its economic stimulus
programs sooner than anticipated.
* Central bank actions around the world have boosted
equities thus far this year, and lifted the S&P about 9.4
percent. On Thursday, Wall Street rose after the Bank of Japan
announced aggressive policies to jump-start its economy.
* S&P 500 futures fell 8.3 points and were below fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures sank 73
points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 17 points.
* If the S&P closes down on the week, it will be only the
third weekly loss this year for the benchmark index, which has
struggled to surpass an intraday record high of 1,576.09.
* Energy shares have been among the most pressured recently,
dropping alongside crude oil, which is down 4.6 percent this
week. Tied to growth expectations, the group could continue to
struggle if the payroll report disappoints. Chevron Corp
has lost 2.6 percent over the past two weeks.
* Earnings forecasts have declined heading into
first-quarter reports, due to be kicked off next week by Alcoa
. S&P 500 earnings are expected to have risen just 1.6
percent from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data, down
from 4.3 percent forecast in January.
* Late Thursday, F5 Networks Inc forecast
second-quarter earnings and revenue that were well below
expectations. Its shares slumped 17 percent to $75.20 in
* Geopolitical tensions will remain in focus after North
Korea placed two of its intermediate range missiles on mobile
launchers and hid them on the east coast of the country, South
Korean media reported on Friday.