Friday, April 8, 2011

US Stock Futures Rise As Commodities Rally, Hercules Offshore (NASDAQ: HERO) Slumps

US stock-index futures advanced on Friday as oil and gold prices resumed their rally..

At 8:32 am ET, the S&P 500 futures rose 6.50 points to 1,335. The Dow Jones Industrial average futures advanced 53 points to 12,404. The Nasdaq Composite futures climbed 8.75 points to 2,338.

A release by the Department of Labor on Friday showed that U.S. employers slashed 95,000 net jobs in September. Economists expected non-farm payrolls to remain unchanged for the month. Unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6% last month. Economists expected jobless rate to rise to 9.7%.

Shares of Hercules Offshore Inc. (NASDAQ: HERO) slumped more than 13$ in Friday's pre-market trading after the offshore drilling company said it was subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in a probe of possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Justice Department is also probing the company, Hercules said.

On the economic front, wholesale inventories data is scheduled for release after the opening bell. Economists expect a rise of 1% versus 1.1% in January.

Meanwhile, oil prices climbed as high as $111.90 a barrel Friday.

US stocks finished lower on Thursday after a earthquake measuring 7.4 shook northeast and eastern Japan. Shares also retreated as investors turned cautious after crude-oil futures topped $110 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

European stocks advanced in afternoon trade. At 13:28 pm London Time, the UK FTSE rose 57.07 points, or 0.95%, to 6,064.44. The German DAX and French CAC increased 0.61% and 0.92% respectively.

Asian stocks finished higher. The Nikkei 225 climbed 177.15 points, or 0.07%, to 9,590.93. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong rose 114.27 points, or 0.47%, to 24,396.07.

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