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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. stock futures were little changed Friday as investors braced for the final jobs report before the presidential election.

The session will close a week shortened by Superstorm Sandy, as the area around the New York Stock Exchange remains without power for the fourth day.

The government’s monthly jobs report takes the spotlight. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect the report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, to show the economy added 125,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate is predicted to have ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8% in September.

Earlier in the week, when then-Hurricane Sandy was in full swing, it was unclear whether the jobs report would come out on Friday. Federal offices were closed for two days this week, throwing the Labor Department’s ability to produce the highly anticipated report into doubt.

But when the department re-opened on Wednesday, it assured the report was still on schedule. It comes just four days before Tuesday’s vote for president and Congress.

After the start of trade on Friday, the Census Bureau will release data on September factory orders. Chevron and Alcatel-Lucent will announce their quarterly results before the open.

U.S. stocks finished higher Thursday, starting November on a high note after mostly upbeat jobs reports.

Other positive U.S. reports Thursday showed gains in manufacturing, consumer confidence and auto sales. But experts say the recession in Europe remains the biggest challenge to sustained global growth.

World Markets: European stocks were mixed in morning trade. Britain’s FTSE 100 and the DAX in Germany were close to flat, while France’s CAC 40 lost 0.1%.

Asian markets closed higher. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.3%, and Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.2%. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.6%.

Economy: September factory orders are expected to have increased by 4.5%, according to a survey of analysts by

Companies: Shares of Starbucks rose 7.3% in premarket trading Friday, one day after the coffee shop operator reported strong same-store sales growth and increased its dividend.

LinkedIn’s stock soared 9.1% in premarket trading after the social media company topped Wall Street’s expectations.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was flat against the euro and the British pound, and up against the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery fell 0.8% to $86.41 a barrel, narrowing losses a bit from earlier in the morning.

Gold futures for December delivery slipped to $1,709 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slipped, pushing the yield up to 1.72% from 1.71% late Thursday.
By CNNMoney staff
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