NEW YORK -
Stock index futures rose on Friday, gearing up for more gains after the S&P 500 ended at its highest level since before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, as investors awaited a crucial report on the labor market.
The fresh jobs tally will be released on Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke left the door wide open to more monetary stimulus and described the labor market's stagnation as a "grave concern."
Employers are expected to have increased payrolls by 125,000 workers last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, a step down from July's 163,000-job gain. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 8.3 percent.
Lifting the market mood on Friday, China gave the green light for 60 infrastructure projects this week worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($157 billion), or 2.1 percent of China's gross domestic product. And data showed German exports unexpectedly edged up in July and imports rose even more, suggesting Europe's largest economy remains relatively resilient to the euro zone crisis.
Stock markets in Europe and Asia rallied on Friday, and yields on the debt of struggling euro zone nations fell as investors welcomed the European Central Bank's latest bond-buying plan and positioned for a strong jobs report.
The euro rose broadly on Friday as Spanish 10-year bond yields fell below 6 percent for the first time since May, helped by the ECB plan to lower borrowing costs for indebted euro zone countries.
American International Group Inc
SunTrust Banks Inc
Gunmaker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp
Kraft Foods Inc
Stocks closed at multi-year highs on Thursday as investors hailed a new European bond-buying program aimed at stemming the region's debt crisis.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 26 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 10.50 points.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)