US stock futures rise ahead of jobs report; Europe gains





NEW YORK (AP) — Futures for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are higher Friday morning ahead of a highly-anticipated report on the jobs market in the U.S.

Shares in Europe and Asia mostly rose Friday, tracking a rally on Wall Street Thursday.

Jobs growth is key to a sustained economic rebound, but it has trailed other areas of the economy such as retail sales and consumer confidence. Employment is typically a lagging indicator in an economic recovery.

Economists expect the April jobs data to show employers hired 975,000 workers last month as the economy accelerated out of the pandemic and vaccines rolled out nationwide. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 5.8% from 6%.

S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% to 4,204 and Dow futures gained 0.3% to 34,555. Futures for the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 were also higher.

France’s CAC 40 rose 0.2% to 6,370 while Germany’s DAX added 1.3% to 15,389. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.6% to 7,120.

China reported its trade with the United States and the rest of the world surged by double digits in April as consumer demand recovered, but growth appeared to be slowing. Trade data released Friday show global exports rose 32.3% over a year ago to $263.9 billion, in line with March but down from the explosive 60.6% rise in the first two months of 2021.

China’s trade gains look especially dramatic in comparison with a year ago, when global economies shut down to fight the coronavirus. The positive indicators are coming amid worries about renewed tensions between the U.S. and China over trade.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 recouped early losses to edge up nearly 0.1% and finish at 29,357.82. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% to 7,080.80, while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6% to 3,197.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gyrated much of the day ending nearly 0.1% lower at 28,610.65, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7% to 3,418.87.

Japan has decided to extend its state of emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections, which kicked in last month in some urban areas, with people asked to stay home and restaurants to close early. The emergency will continue through the end of the month, instead of ending May 11, officials said.

Worries are growing that Japan’s medical system is being stretched thin, straining its ability to roll out vaccinations and treat rising numbers of infections. About 2% of the 126 million people in Japan have been inoculated so far. Opposition is growing against the Tokyo Olympics, set to open in July, with doubts growing whether the government can make good on its promise to have the elderly vaccinated by then.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 17 cents to $64.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 13 cents to $67.96 a barrel.