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* Amazon drops as sales forecast misses estimates
* Cigna’s outlook, proposed rebate rule hit healthcare stocks
* January payrolls rise more than expected
* Futures: Dow up 0.28 pct, S&P up 0.09 pct, Nasdaq off 0.38 pct (Adds comment, details, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
Feb 1 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were set to open higher on Friday after stronger-than-expected U.S. job growth in January reassured investors worried about a slowdown.
U.S. stock index futures pared losses after Labor Department data showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by 304,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February 2018, handily beating an estimated rise of 165,000, according to economists polled by Reuters.
The report also showed no “discernible” impact on job growth from a 35-day partial government shutdown and came two days after the Federal Reserve signaled that its three-year interest rate hike campaign might be ending because of rising headwinds to the economy.
“The payroll number was significantly stronger than what was expected, so a lot more people are finding jobs,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
“There is a huge concern about the growth rates in China and this certainly eases some amount of concern domestically.”
Data from the world’s second-largest economy showed that the manufacturing sector shrank for the second straight month in January, pointing to further strains on the economy that could heighten risks for global growth.
January ended on a high-note for U.S. markets, with the S&P 500 posting its best month since 2015, boosted by the Federal Reserve’s dovish remarks and as hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal improved. U.S. President Donald Trump said he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping soon to try and seal a comprehensive trade deal.
At 8:57 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 69 points, or 0.28 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.09 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 26.25 points, or 0.38 percent.
Amazon.com Inc fell 4.2 percent in premarket trading after the e-commerce giant forecast quarterly sales below Wall Street estimates, overshadowing its record sales and profit during the holiday season.
Shares of Amazon, one of the most valuable U.S. companies, which have surged about 14 percent this year, dragged down the tech-heavy Nasdaq futures.
Exxon Mobil Corp’s shares jumped 1.8 percent after the company reported a quarterly profit that topped analysts’ estimates on higher prices and volumes for its oil and natural gas.
Honeywell International Inc rose 2 percent after the industrial conglomerate forecast full-year earnings in a range that was largely above analysts’ estimates.
Cigna Corp shares fell 3.9 percent after the health insurer forecast 2019 revenue and earnings below estimates.
The insurer’s shares, along with other pharmacy benefit managers, took a hit after the U.S. government proposed a rule to end the industry-wide system of rebates, which they get from drugmakers, in efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs for consumers.
CVS Health Corp fell 2.8 percent. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar, additional reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)