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* U.S. job growth in Oct. slows less than expected
* Qorvo jumps on $1 bln share buyback, Q3 rev. view
* Big oil reports: Exxon rises, Chevron drops
* AIG drops as third-quarter earnings miss
* Futures up: Dow 0.43%, S&P 0.41%, Nasdaq 0.43% (Adds comments, updates market action)
By Arjun Panchadar
Nov 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Friday, taking comfort from October data that showed U.S. jobs growth slowed less than expected and China’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years.
The Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls data showed jobs growth in October came in at 128,000 compared to expectations of 89,000, according to economists polled by Reuters. However, growth still slowed from September.
The report also showed hiring in the prior two months was stronger than previously estimated, offering assurance that consumers would continue to prop up the slowing economy for a while.
“It’s interesting because there was an expectation of 50,000 jobs being gone simply because of the GM strike but clearly that doesn’t show up. That tells me that it was a very strong report,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
Amid mixed headlines on the trade talks between Washington and Beijing, China’s surprise rise in manufacturing activity in October came as a relief for the markets.
All three main U.S. stock indexes notched gains in October on the back of a largely better-than-expected third-quarter earnings season, hopes of interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve and upbeat U.S.-China trade rhetoric.
After scaling record highs earlier in the week, the benchmark S&P 500 edged lower in the previous session following a report that Chinese officials had doubts about a comprehensive long-term trade deal with Washington.
However, on Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the initial “phase one” trade pact with China appears to be in good shape and is likely to be signed around mid-November, although a finite date is still in question.
At 8:51 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 115 points, or 0.43%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.5 points, or 0.41% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 34.75 points, or 0.43%.
Among stocks, oil major Exxon Mobil Corp rose 0.6% after it beat recently lowered third-quarter profit expectations, while peer Chevron Corp fell 0.8% as it posted a 36% drop in quarterly profit.
Qorvo Inc jumped 11.6% after the Apple Inc supplier announced a $1 billion share buyback plan and forecast third-quarter revenue above expectations.
Shares of American International Group Inc fell 2.6% after the insurer missed estimates for third-quarter profit due to weakness in its life and retirement business.
Pinterest Inc tumbled 21% after the online scrapbook company missed quarterly revenue estimates.
Arista Networks slumped 29% after the cloud infrastructure supplier forecast current-quarter revenue much below Wall Street expectations.
Investors awaited the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing report due at 10 a.m. ET, which is expected to show the PMI index rose to 48.9 in October from a 10-year low of 47.8 a month earlier. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)