* U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in Feb vs est. 190,000
* Bank stocks rise premarket as rate hike odds firm up
* Futures up: Dow 88 pts, S&P 10.5 pts, Nasdaq 21 pts
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
March 10 U.S. stocks looked set to open higher
on Friday after an upbeat monthly jobs report underscored the
strength of the U.S. economy and firmed the odds for the first
interest rate hike this year.
The Labor Department data showed 235,000 jobs were added in
the public and private sectors in February, blowing past
economists' average estimate of 190,000 as the construction
industry recorded its largest gain in nearly 10
Unemployment rate stood at 4.7 percent, while average
earnings edged up 0.2 percent.
"I suspect that there is a positive impact from milder
weather in February which may have skewed this number to the
high side," said Alan Gayle, director of asset allocation at
Ridgeworth Investments in Atlanta, Georgia.
"But the operative message is that the jobs market continues
to strengthen, and that is likely to give the FOMC a green light
to raise rates when they meet next week."
A slew of recent robust data has encouraged the Federal
Reserve to turn more hawkish on interest rates.
The odds of a rate hike during the Fed's meeting next week
edged up to 89.7 percent after the report, according to Reuters
Fed Chair Janet Yellen's conference after the two-day
meeting next week will be closely watched for clues on the pace
of future rate hikes.
Dow e-minis were up 88 points, or 0.42 percent, at
8:32 a.m. ET (1332 GMT), with 18,690 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.5 points, or 0.44 percent,
with 191,460 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 21 points, or 0.39
percent, on volume of 15,479 contracts.
In the 49 days of Donald Trump's presidency, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average broke above 20,000 points and the S&P 500
crossed $20 trillion in market value on bets that he would usher
in an era of tax cuts, simpler regulations and higher
However, the lack of detail on Trump's plans has raised
questions about valuations and taken the heat off the
Wall Street closed little changed on Thursday as a late
rebound in oil prices cut losses in the energy sector. Oil was
up 0.7 percent on Friday.
Shares of big U.S. banks, including Goldman Sachs,
Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, were up more
than 1 percent in premarket trading.
Alexandria Real Estate Equities was off 5 percent at
$108.04 after the REIT priced an offering of 6.1 million shares
at $108.55 per share - a 4.5 percent discount to its Thursday
Finisar Corp dropped 17 percent to $29.11 after the
network equipment maker issued disappointing revenue and profit
forecasts for the current quarter.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shri Navaratnam and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)