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Stocks head for mixed open before employment data

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[June 06, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks headed for a mixed open Friday after Thursday's big jump as investors awaited the government's May reading on job creation and unemployment.

RestaurantThe Labor Department's monthly data, scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, is expected to show the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.1 percent in May, and that the number of U.S. jobs shrank for the fifth straight month by 60,000.

Wall Street has grown more confident that the U.S. economy is poised for recovery later this year, and that confidence has helped drive the stock market higher. Signs that the job market is worse than expected, however, could derail those hopes. If consumers do not have jobs, they will pare back their discretionary spending more than they already have as they've contended with soaring food and energy prices.

Crude oil has made an aggressive rebound this week, rising more than $7 a barrel in two days. And in premarket electronic trading, light sweet crude rose $1.93 to $129.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, driven up by a weaker dollar. Though the stock market this week has performed well thanks to some upbeat economic data, inflation worries still dog investors, and oil's resurgent price could yet unsettle investors.


Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 2, or 0.02 percent, to 12,620. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 1.80, or 0.13 percent, to 1,403.50, and Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 2.80, or 0.14 percent, to 2,053.5.

The stock market soared Thursday, driving the Dow up nearly 214 points for its largest daily point gain since April 18 thanks to better-than-expected sales from retailers and a dip in last week's jobless claims. The good economic news helped investors shrug off the more than $5-a-barrel spike in oil prices Thursday.

Bond prices moved higher early Friday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 4.02 percent from 4.04 percent late Wednesday.

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The dollar declined against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

In corporate news, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. holds its annual shareholders meeting on Friday.

And according to media reports, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is considering releasing its fiscal second-quarter earnings earlier than the week of June 16, when most other investment banks are scheduled to report quarterly results. The Wall Street firm is also seeking to raise billions in capital, reports say.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average closed up 1.03 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.43 percent in midday trading, Germany's DAX index rose 0.35 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.17 percent.


On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com/

Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com/

[Associated Press; By MADLEN READ]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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