NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures on Friday posted modest losses in the wake of a mixed, but mostly disappointing, unemployment report, which had job losses resuming in December, counter to expectations of slight jobs creation.
"This report is not what the market was looking for, but I don't think it derails the fact that the unemployment picture in the U.S. is getting better," said Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial.
The Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls fell by 85,000 last month after a revised 4,000 gain in November. The jobless rate stood at 10%. Read more about employment picture.
"The revised number for November is what we thought we'd get this month. We knew we weren't going to move in a straight line," added White.
Up slightly ahead of the much-awaited report, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were lately off 16 points at 10,529, while those for the S&P 500 fell 3.4 points to 1,134.2. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 were down 5.75 points to 1,871.75.
"Also on the economic calendar are wholesale inventories for November, due at 10 a.m., and consumer credit, due at 3 p.m., both Eastern time.
Stocks in focus for Friday include Apollo Group /quotes/comstock/15*!apol/quotes/nls/apol (APOL 60.63, -3.31, -5.18%) . Those shares fell in premarket trade after the company reported late Thursday that profit surpassed expectations, but also said it received a Department of Education report regarding concerns about its handling of federal funding.
Bank of America Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 16.77, -0.16, -0.95%) could also be in the spotlight because of a report in The Wall Street Journal that it's set to pay its investment bankers bonuses that are near 2007 levels in order to reduce the recent number of defections.
Shares of Boeing Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ba/quotes/nls/ba (BA 61.49, -0.71, -1.14%) could see some pressure after Macquarie Equities Research downgraded the aerospace company to neutral from hold Friday, saying the stock is looking overvalued, trading at a 13% relative premium to its peers.
Some bleaker economic data came out of Europe on Friday. Unemployment in the 16-nation euro zone rose to 10% in November, up from 9.9% in October. That's the highest rate since August 1998, and in Spain, unemployment was 19.4%, Eurostat said.
Early gains in Europe evaporated on Friday after the disappointing jobs data on both sides of the Atlantic. The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 259.15, +1.11, +0.43%) slipped 0.2% to 257.63.
The mood in Asia was upbeat overnight, with Japanese exporters helped by recent weakness in the yen and Hutchison Telecommunications' /quotes/comstock/13*!htx/quotes/nls/htx (HTX 4.11, +0.79, +23.80%) shares surging in Hong Kong on an offer to take the company private.
The dollar slipped some against the Japanese yen. Japan's newly appointed Finance Minister Naoto Kan backtracked overnight from comments a day earlier that were perceived to be talking down the yen. On Friday, he said the yen's exchange rate should be determined by markets.
Crude-oil futures slipped 1 cent to $82.65 a barrel, while gold futures added $5.4 to $1,139.1 an ounce.
Bullish analyst comments boosted financial stocks, fueling an uptick in the broader market Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (INDU 10,586, -21.16, -0.20%) rose 0.3%, the Nasdaq Composite /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,309, +8.48, +0.37%) fell 0.1%, and the S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,141, -1.01, -0.09%) rose 0.4%.
The market was also buoyed by better-than-expected readings of retail sales and jobless claims but hurt by worries about interest rates.
Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.