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MARKET PREVIEW: Investors eye employment report

All eyes will be on the April employment report Friday, as investors look for a reason to be upbeat. Asian and European markets were mixed, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


On Thursday, a report showing that U.S. unemployment applications jumped unexpectedly threw a wrench into the week's rally. Investors will be watching Friday's monthly numbers on unemployment closely.

The report is expected to show slow job growth and a rise in the unemployment rate. The economy is expected to have created just 25,000 jobs last month, better than the loss of 86,000 jobs in March but still weak. The unemployment rate is expected to climb to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent in March– which would be the highest rate in about two years.

Shares of Internet consulting firm Razorfish (Nasdaq: RAZF) will also see some attention after it reported a first-quarter loss that was narrower than expected but said its founders were stepping down.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Cable Design Technologies, Razorfish and Sapient.

Blue-chip and technology stocks were roughed up Thursday. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 74 points to 2,146.15, while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 80 points to finish at 10,796.58.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open 9 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was off 1.1 points to 1253 at 7:15 a.m. EDT in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 10 to 209.64.


Trading in Asia was mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 3.82 to 14,421.64, Singapore's Straits Times index lost 19.39 to 1,714.84 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 327.15 to 13,390.99.


European markets were also moving in different directions. London's FTSE 100 rose 61.00 to 5,826.80, the CAC 40 in Paris fell 15.37 to 5,441.70 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 3.33 to 6,092.50.

Reuters contributed to this report.