US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open after payrolls report

Last Updated: Fri, May 03, 2013 13:30 hrs

* U.S. job growth beats expectations in April

* ISM non-manufacturing data and factory orders on tap

* S&P 500 index likely to break above 1,600 mark

* Futures up: S&P 11.6 pts, Dow 117 pts, Nasdaq 22 pts

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set for a higher open on Friday after data showed U.S. employment rose more than expected in April, pushing the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, which could ease concerns of a slowdown in the economy.

The data showed non-farm payrolls rose 165,000 in April, while March's payrolls were raised to 138,000 and February's were revised up to 332,000. Investors welcomed the gains after weeks of disappointing data that suggested the economic recovery was losing steam.

The strong data is likely to push the S&P 500 index above the 1,600 mark.

"The April numbers were clearly better than expectations, and the fairly large dip we saw in March was largely erased," said Cam Albright, director of asset allocation at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors in Wilmington, Delaware.

"This will probably give the (equity) market at least a near-term boost, particularly given the revisions that we saw."

Data on Thursday showed a narrowing of the U.S. trade gap in March, although drops in imports and exports were viewed as warning signs about the strength of domestic and foreign demand.

In other macroeconomic news, the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing sector data will be released along with the Commerce Department's factory orders report for March at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

S&P 500 futures added 11.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 117 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 22 points.

On Thursday, Wall Street rallied after data showing U.S. weekly jobless claims dropped to a five-year low. Also helping was the European Central Bank with a cut to its benchmark interest rate.

The move follows Wednesday's Federal Reserve statement in which the U.S. central bank said it would continue its bond buying scheme to keep interest rates low and spur growth, and would step up purchases if needed.

Mining stocks were the top gainers in premarket trade including Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, up 3 percent after prices of copper posted their biggest daily gain in almost 1-1/2 years.

LinkedIn Corp shares were likely to come under pressure after the social network late Thursday reported disappointing revenue forecasts, suggesting that a revamped mobile app and other new products designed to keep smartphone users engaged will not deliver on advertising growth as quickly as anticipated. The stock was off about 9 percent in premarket trade.

The S&P ended at a record level on Thursday after hitting a record high intraday level of 1,598.58. About 74 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed higher while 73 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares closed up.

More from Sify: