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Before the Bell: Stock futures extend gains on jobs data beat

The Before the Bell report is compiled by editors of The Globe and Mail and is updated throughout the morning to reflect latest developments. Colin Cieszynski, Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Market Technician, is chief market strategist with CMC Markets.

U.S. stock futures extended gains as U.S. jobs data came in stronger than expected. Canadian jobs figures also beat Street views, propelling the loonie upward.

The U.S. created 235,000 jobs in February versus the 190,000 that was expected. The unemployment rate was 4.7 per cent, matching economists' estimates.

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Canada, meanwhile, added 15,300 jobs, blowing past estimates calling for a 2,500 gain.

S&P 500 and Dow futures, up about 0.3 per cent prior to the 830 a.m. (ET) jobs data, are now up about 0.5 per cent, pointing to a firm start of trading in both Canada and the U.S.

Stock markets around the world rose modestly overnight. Crude oil is up 0.6 per cent but still trading below $50 (U.S.) per barrel.

In other markets, defensive havens like gold and the Japanese yen remain under pressure, with the yellow metal trading modestly lower to near the $1,200 (U.S.) per ounce level. The Canadian dollar got a boost after the jobs data, and is now up nearly half a cent to about 74.5 cents (U.S.).

Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated a week ago that the Fed would consider raising interest rates this month following an assessment of employment and inflation trends. Wednesday's massive 298,000 increase in ADP private sector payrolls appeared to seal the deal, with Fed Funds pricing in a 98 per cent chance of an increase. Traders looked to the nonfarm report today for confirmation of the ADP numbers - and that's exactly what they got.

I had also thought the Street was too pessimistic about Canada jobs, and indeed that was the case. We're in peak energy exploration season and oil prices are a lot higher than last year, plus the U.S. has been doing well, so things should be looking up for Canada too.

Now, here is a closer look at key market data, and corporate and economic news.

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Futures (as of about 7:30 a.m. ET)

Dow +0.46 per cent; S&P 500 +0.39 per cent; Nasdaq: +0.31 per cent; TSX 60+-0.21 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +1.48 per cent
Shanghai composite index -0.13 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.29 per cent 
Germany's DAX +0.65 per cent
London's FTSE +0.48 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.60 per cent

WTI crude oil (Nymex April) +0.69 per cent at $49.62 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex April) -0.42 per cent at $1,198.10 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex May) +0.47 per cent at $2.592 (U.S.) a pound

Canadian dollar +0.47 at 74.44. cents (U.S.)
U.S. dollar index -0.110 at 101.740

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Canada 10-year bond yield +0.003 at 1.81 per cent


Earnings include: Northern Blizzard Resources Inc.; Vail Resorts Inc.

Also see: Friday's small-cap stocks to watch

With files from wire services

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