NEW YORK -
S&P 500 stock index futures were steady Friday, a day after Wall Street enjoyed its best advance in seven weeks, and ahead of the last monthly jobs report before Tuesday's presidential election.
The S&P 500 enjoyed its best day since September 13 on Thursday as bullish consumer confidence and private-sector jobs data gave investors reason to cheer following superstorm Sandy's devastating sweep through the U.S. Northeast.
American employers likely added 125,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would be up from 114,000 in September, but fall short of what is needed to quickly cut the jobless rate.
"We are on hold probably to the election if the jobs number comes in more or less as forecast," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. Forrest said a strong number could tip the balance toward President Obama in the November 6 ballot.
Starbucks Corp jumped nearly 8 percent premarket after the coffee company raised its profit forecast for the current fiscal year as sales in its top market of the United States topped expectations, giving the company optimism that has eluded much of the U.S. restaurant industry in recent months.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.6 point and were slightly 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 fell 6 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.25 point.
The S&P 500 is on course for its best week in a month after Thursday's gain. But the index is still off 2.6 percent from a recent peak in September and below its 50-day moving average as investors grow cautious ahead of the election and tough government budget negotiations at the end of the year.
Professional social network LinkedIn Corp topped Wall Street's third-quarter profit and revenue targets, as advertising rates increased and sales from its hiring services nearly doubled. The shares rose 9 percent to $116.50.
From New York City's Staten Island to the popular beach towns of the Jersey Shore, rescuers and officials on Friday faced widespread destruction wrought by superstorm Sandy, mounting anger over delayed relief, fuel shortages, and a rising death toll.
Verizon may take another two weeks to restore telecommunication services for its customers after flooding and power outages knocked out services during superstorm Sandy, according to a top executive at the company.
Newmont Mining Corp,, the world's second-largest gold producer, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit after a steep fall in production and a sharp rise in costs at its big Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Indonesia.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Bernadette Baum)