(Adds dropped title of Jacobsen in fourth paragraph.)
* Futures: Dow up 16 pts, S&P off 2 pts, Nasdaq down 1 pt
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Dec 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were mixed in volatile trading on Friday after November payrolls came in much stronger than anticipated, raising expectations a rate hike from the Federal Reserve may come sooner than previously thought.
Payrolls came in at 321,000 for November, way above the 230,000 estimated, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent.
The U.S. dollar strengthened across the board and short-term interest-rate futures traders were pricing in the first Fed rate hike for July 2015, slightly earlier than before the data.
“We might see a situation where the Fed achieves its full employment target well before it achieves its inflation target. People are trying to see how the Fed will navigate that situation,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
“Will they allow the unemployment rate to drop significantly lower or will they worry about the economy overheating? That’s why we see (equity) futures all over the place.”
Futures briefly turned negative after the data, before rising a little. Before the open, futures were mixed and still volatile.
Data on durable goods and factory orders are both due shortly after trading begins on Wall Street.
The Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs earlier this week and are on track for a seventh week of gains, a streak not seen in a year for both indexes. The Nasdaq Composite is slightly lower so far this week.
American Eagle Outfitters shares fell 8 percent in premarket trading after the teen apparel retailer forecast a current-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates and reported its fifth straight drop in quarterly income.
Crude futures prices fell to near five-year lows hit on Monday, which could continue to pressure stocks in the energy sector.
Futures snapshot at 9:04 a.m. EST (1405 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.1 percent, with 195,093 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1.25 points, or 0.03 percent, in volume of 30,282 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 16 points, or 0.09 percent, with 27,118 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)