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U.S. stock futures remain positive on Friday morning following positive earnings and the Employment Situation report.
Futures at 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: +0.70%, S&P 500: +0.62%, NASDAQ: +0.67%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total non-farm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January, bumping the U-3 unemployment rate up a fraction to 7.9 percent. However, upward revisions to November and December figures helped move the average rate of employment growth for 2012 up to 181,000 per month.
Merck (NYSE:MRK) was off about 2.4 percent in pre-market trading following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 financial results. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 4.5 percent to $11.7 billion, beating estimates by $270 million. Fourth-quarter earnings fell 6.1 percent to $0.46 per share, beating estimates by a penny. Full-year sales dropped 2 percent to $47.3 billion, while earnings climbed 6.9 percent to $2.16 per share. However, full-year 2013 EPS guidance in a range between $3.60 and $3.70 is a little bearish for some investors.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) reported that fourth-quarter earnings grew 12 percent to $2.20, beating expectations by 20 cents. Oil-equivalent production decreased 5 percent year over year, while capital expenditures grew 24 percent to $12.4 billion. Full-year highlights include a 15 percent increase in earnings per share to $9.70 on the back of record capital expenditures of $39.8 billion as the company pursues exploration and production opportunities. Shares were up about 0.7 percent in the pre-market.
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