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Stock futures rise a day after market turbulence

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[May 07, 2010]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are rising Friday, a day after one of the most volatile sessions in Wall Street history.

A computerized sell-off, which might have been triggered by a simple typographical error, sent the Dow Jones industrial average down by a record nearly 1,000 points in about 30 minutes Thursday afternoon. The market started to steady itself and regained two-thirds of that loss before the end of trading.

Still the 348-point, or 3.2 percent, drop on the Dow was the worst day for the index since February 2009 when the market was swooning and headed toward a 12-year low. The Dow has lost 631 points, or 5.7 percent, over the last three days.


Stocks had been trading lower throughout Thursday on concerns about Greece's ongoing debt problems. There are fears over whether a $140 billion bailout for Greece would stem a spread of debt issues across the continent that could unravel a global economic recovery.

Leaders of the 16 countries that use the euro are meeting in Brussels Friday to complete the Greek rescue plan and determine how to avoid future debt crises. Germany's parliament is expected to vote on its contribution for the loan package. As the largest country using the euro, Germany is on the hook for the largest portion of the bailout, which is also being funded by the International Monetary Fund.

Greece's parliament passed an austerity plan Thursday night, despite heavy protesting from citizens throughout the country. It needed to approve the plan to receive the bailout money, a portion of which will be needed to cover debt payments on May 19.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 75, or 0.7 percent, to 10,532. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 10.50, or 0.9 percent, to 1,132.90, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 20.00, or 1.1 percent, to 1,906.00.

The turbulence on Wall Street Thursday and ongoing European debt worries are overshadowing what is normally the biggest economic report each month in the U.S.: the Labor Department's monthly jobs report.

The Labor Department is expected to say employers added 200,000 jobs in April, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters. However, as many as 120,000 of those new jobs could be tied to temporary hiring of U.S. census workers.

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Investors will pay close attention to private company hiring to see if there is any true improvement in the labor market. Economists say private employers probably hired only 75,000 workers last month, which would be a drop from the 123,000 added in March.

The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 9.7 percent, where it's been since January.

Stocks had risen steadily between February and April as economic reports regularly showed the economy was recovering, albeit slowly.

Investors want to see continued growth in the jobs market because it would likely boost consumer confidence and spending. Consumer spending accounts for the majority of economic activity in the country.

Uncertainty about debt problems in Europe and the stock markets recent turmoil could keep employers nervous and slow hiring in the short term.

Nursing Homes

Meanwhile, bond prices fell sharply after Thursday's big gains. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.46 percent from 3.40 percent late Thursday.

The dollar, which has been rising sharply particularly against the euro, retreated early in the day. Investors had been pouring money into the dollar and pulling out of the euro because of worries that the European common currency could eventually collapse under the weight of the mounting debt problems.

Gold and oil both rose.

Overseas, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent, Germany's DAX index dropped 1 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 1.5 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 3.1 percent.

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN BERNARD]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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