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US futures jump on surprise July job figures
US futures head higher on strongest hiring trends in 5 months; hope still alive for Fed action
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Stock futures rose sharply after a July jobs report revealed the strongest hiring trends in five months.

Dow Jones industrial futures added 119 points to 12,950 and the broader S&P futures rose 14.6 points at 1,376.50. Nasdaq futures tacked on 31.75 points to hit 2,650.25.

The Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. added 163,000 jobs last month, though unemployment ticked up to 8.3 percent, from 8.2 percent.



The Dow Jones added 40 points immediately after the report was released, a clear sign of relief in the markets after several dismal months of hiring.

The economy has added an average of 75,000 jobs a month from April through June, a sharp decline from the 226,000 jobs per month added in the first three months of the year.

While the report Friday was somewhat mixed, with a separate survey of households pushing unemployment up a 10th of a point, investors are trying to pinpoint the month in which the economy gains traction. The monthly jobs reports carry even more weight during the recovery with the presidential election nearing.

No president since World War II has faced re-election with unemployment over 8 percent.

There were also some strong earnings from U.S. corporations Friday.

Procter & Gamble posted a 45 percent jump in fourth-quarter earnings, topping Wall Street expectations. WellCare Health Plans of Florida also beat expectations, though earnings dropped more than 30 percent compared with last year when claims came in lower than expected.

Hiring is still sluggish and the surprise jobs report did not dispel hopes by some that the Fed will act soon to kick-start the economy.

At the end of a two-day policy meeting this week, the Fed said it would "provide additional accommodation as needed" if there are additional signs that the economy has stalled.


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