March 10, 2017 / 12:30 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise as investors count down to jobs report

* Futures up: Dow 17 pts, S&P 9 pts, Nasdaq 18 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

March 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as investors braced for a crucial nonfarm payrolls report that could see the Federal Reserve deliver the first interest rate hike this year.

* An upbeat jobs number would reinforce recent data showing an economy that is strong enough to absorb a rate increase.

* Economists polled by Reuters on average expect 190,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in the United States last month, after a sizable 227,000 in January. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).

* However, a bigger-than-expected rise in private sector hiring is likely to bump up the overall number.

* Unemployment rate is expected to be at 4.7 percent, marking the ninth month below the 5 percent threshold that is associated with full employment. Average earnings are likely to have ticked up 0.3 percent.

* The Federal Reserve’s policy-setting board meets on Tuesday and Wednesday next week to deliberate over raising interest rates by a quarter point.

* Unusually hawkish rhetoric from several key Fed officials, including those typically dovish on rates, in the past weeks have prompted traders to price in a near 90 percent chance of a move next week.

* Investors are expected to closely watch the Fed’s language to see whether the central bank could signal a more aggressive tightening path in the face of an improving economy and a potential demand-boost from President Donald Trump’s fiscal policies.

* In the 49 days of Trump’s presidency, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke above 20,000 points and the S&P 500 crossed $20 trillion in market value on bets that he would usher in an era of tax cuts, simpler regulations and higher infrastructure spending.

* However, the lack of detail on Trump’s plans has raised questions about valuations and taken the heat off the post-election rally.

* Wall Street closed little changed on Thursday as a late rebound in oil prices cut losses in the energy sector. Oil was up 0.7 percent on Friday.

* Shares of big U.S. banks, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, were up in light premarket trading ahead of the jobs report.

* Alexandria Real Estate Equities was off 5.8 percent at $107.90 after the REIT priced an offering of 6.1 million shares at $108.55 per share - a 4.5 percent discount to its Thursday close.

* Finisar Corp dropped nearly 17 percent to $29.11 after the network equipment maker issued disappointing revenue and profit forecasts for the current quarter.

Futures snapshot at 6:51 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 70 points, or 0.34 percent, with 13,071 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.38 percent, with 138,192 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 18 points, or 0.34 percent, on volume of 9,632 contracts.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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