By Riva Gold

U.S. stock futures edged higher Friday after the Labor Department reported that the economy created 161,000 jobs in October.

The unemployment rate, derived from a separate survey of American households, ticked down to 4.9% last month from 5% in September. Wage growth accelerated to its strongest pace since the recession.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a solid jobs report for October, with nonfarm employers adding a seasonally adjusted 173,000 jobs and the unemployment rate falling to 4.9%.

Futures pointed to a 0.2% opening gain for the S&P 500. The index fell for aneighth straight session Thursday.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 1.815%, compared with 1.805% right before the data.

The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.7%, paring losses, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.3% as the market reopened from a holiday to a stronger yen.

Investors globally have been cutting down on assets perceived as risky in recent sessions while adding to positions in gold, the yen and the Swiss franc as polls have tightened between the two presidential candidates in the U.S. election.

"The only certainty in the near term of a [Donald] Trump victory is a lot of uncertainty," said Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen, head of multiasset at NN Investment Partners, citing questions about U.S. trade, security and immigration policies. "We've been a bit less aggressive in risk-taking than we otherwise would've been," he said, using currency and fixed-income markets for protection.

The yen hasrisen 1.7% against the dollar this week, while the S&P has shed roughly the same amount to trade near a four-month low. European stocks are on track to lose 3.6%.

Despite major economic reports, third-quarter earnings and four major central bank meetings, the election has dominated global markets all week.

"We are entering a possible period of turbulence," said Alain Bokobza, head of global asset allocation at Société Générale. "Few portfolio managers are optimistic, and many are hedged against key risks."

Oil has come under pressure as well. Brent crude edged down 0.4% to $46.15 a barrel on Friday, adding to a five-day losing streak. It is down over 7% so far this week, amid growing doubts that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will reach a solid deal to cut production.

In currencies, the British pound continued to gain against the dollar after its best day since August, rising 0.2% to $1.2496. The Bank of England played down the chances of a further cut in interest rates on Thursday, while a U.K. court separately ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May can't start the process of separating the U.K. from the European Union without approval from Parliament.

Write to Riva Gold at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 04, 2016 09:08 ET (13:08 GMT)

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