Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of U.S. Employment Data

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By Jacob Maslow

Stock prices managed to edge higher on Friday despite muted trading as market players decided to wait out the release of the U.S employment data for the month of February to find clues on whether or not economic conditions will justify the implementation of additional rate increases by the Federal Reserve this year.

The U.S. job figures are slated to be made public at around 8:00AM ET today.

As of 7 AM ET, Dow futures have risen 27 points, or 0.16%, while the S&P 500 futures tacked on 3 extra points, or 0.17%. Tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures also inched forward, adding 12 points, or 0.28%.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet again in the middle of March to discuss further the feasibility of additional rate increases in the near future.

In forex, the U.S. dollar was mostly higher against other major currencies on Friday.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose on Friday as U.S. data revealed that oil production have started to drop, hitting its lowest since November 2014. Oil futures for April delivery inched higher 0.35% to trade $34.69 by 7AM ET, while London-traded Brent oil climbed 0.51% to trade at $37.26 a barrel.

On the earnings front, office supply vendor Staples Inc (NASDAQ:SPLS) reported its fourth quarter and full year numbers for 2015 on Friday.  The American office supply chain posted an adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.26 and $5.27 billion in revenues compared to an EPS of $0.31 on revenue of $5.66 billion in the same period from the previous year.

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