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Stocks now climb on hopes for U.S. jobs growth

|Blaise Robinson| Reuters| Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Ex

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 3, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A Reuters’ poll of economists shows non-farm payrolls are expected to have grown by 185,000 last month, snapping back from December’s three-year low.

“Following the surprisingly weak figure for December, investors’ expectations are quite low this time, so good jobs numbers today could fuel the rebound started this week,” Saxo Banque sales trader Andrea Tueni said.

The data, due at 1330 GMT, may also impact expectations about the pace at which the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back its stimulus, which last year fuelled a sharp rally in risky assets such as equities.

London copper was up 0.3 percent on Friday, set to post its largest weekly rise this year, boosted by the hopes for strong U.S. jobs data. Brent crude steadied above $107 a barrel, heading for its second weekly gain in three.

“The market is turning its attention to macro headlines and the U.S. jobs report,” VTB Capital oil strategist Andrey Kryuchenkov said. “But we expect (Brent) to remain rangebound. Even a better-than-expected reading will only offer limited support as there is little on the fundamental side to keep this market rallying.”


People walk past an electronic information board at
People walk past an electronic information board at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London …

Emerging market equities regained ground, with the MSCI Emerging Market index <.MSCIEF> up 0.6 percent, while battered currencies such as the Turkish lira and the South African rand were trading off recent lows.

The relative calm may not last, however, as data shows investors continued to repatriate funds from emerging markets this week, and outflows so far this year have now exceeded those for all of 2013.

The euro was down 0.2 percent to $1.3566 and Bund futures rose as high as 144.02, up 69 ticks on the day, after German judges referred a complaint about the ECB’s OMT bond-buying program to the European Court.

Although the German court said it saw substantial reasons to suggest the OMT exceeds the ECB’s mandate, the European Court has a reputation for giving federalist rulings that take a broad view on European institutions’ powers.

The announcement at the height of the bloc’s sovereign debt crisis in September 2012 of the as-yet unused program, which promises potentially unlimited sovereign bond purchases by the ECB, is widely credited with stabilizing the euro.

“The euro fell, but only slightly. That’s obviously justified if you think the European Court of Justice is going to be more ECB-friendly,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of currency research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Asset performance in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/rav46v

via yagoo