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U.S. Stock Futures Extend Gains After Unemployment Rate Declines

U.S. Stock Futures Extend Gains After Unemployment Rate Declines
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

U.S. stock futures extended gains after government data showed the nation added 114,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 7.8 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December increased 0.4 percent to 1,461.6 at 8:31 a.m. in New York.

The S&P 500 has rallied 16 percent this year as policy makers around the world attempted to safeguard the global economy. The benchmark index reached the highest level since 2007 on Sept. 14 after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank will buy $40 billion of mortgage securities a month, a third round of quantitative easing nicknamed QE3 by investors.

Fed officials said they could change the size of the purchases to reduce the risks associated with the program, such as disrupting financial markets and spurring inflation, according to minutes from their last meeting released yesterday.

For the first time this year, hedge funds are turning away from a rally in the global stock market. The ratio of bullish to bearish bets among professional speculators fell last week and is below historical averages, according to a survey by International Strategy & Investment Group. The reduction came as the MSCI All-Country World Index extended its yearly advance to 12 percent and contrasts with January, when managers bought shares as they rose, data compiled by ISI and Bloomberg show.

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