US STOCKS-Futures fall off 2-yr highs after payrolls data

* Payrolls rise much less than expected, unemployment up

* S&P 500 faces strong resistance after two-day rally

* Futures off: Dow 64 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 14.75 pts

* for up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates prices, adds payrolls data)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Dec 3 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures fell
from more than two-year highs on Friday, pointing to a slide at
the open after a weaker-than-expected payrolls report indicated
an economic recovery was still shaky.

U.S. employment barely grew in November and the jobless
rate unexpectedly jumped to a seven-month high of 9.8 percent,
the government said. For details see [ID:nN02238002]

Recent data, including retail sales and other labor reports
had raised optimism the recovery was accelerating after hitting
a soft patch in the summer.

“The payrolls number was so much below consensus, Wall
Street is going to re-evaluate and go back to a slow recovery
kind of mode,” said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist
at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.

“For the equities side, this weakness in the employment
following better-looking retail sales favors caution.”

With the latest labor market report, investors may be ready
to pocket gains after the biggest two-day rally in three
months, with the S&P 500 (.SPX: ) adding 3.5 percent, analysts

Economic conditions in the U.S. services sector as well as
factory orders data are due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT).

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) dropped 7 points and were below fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: ) fell 64
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) lost 14.75 points.

S&P futures earlier hit a session high at 1,227.30, their
best since September 2008.

The S&P 500 (.SPX: ) closed at 1,221.53 on Thursday and faces
strong technical resistance around 1,228, in the area of a
recent high of more than two years and also the 61.8 percent
Fibonacci retracement of the index’s slide from October 2007 to
March 2009, a key technical indicator.

Support for the benchmark kicks in at 1,200 and near 1,194,
its 14-day moving average.

China will switch to a prudent monetary policy from a
moderately loose stance, the Communist Party’s top leaders
decided Friday, a change that could pave the way for more
interest rate increases and lending controls. [ID:nTOE6B2048]

In company news, U.S.-based mining group Walter Energy Inc
(WLT.N: ) agreed to buy Canada’s Western Coal Corp
(WTN.TO: )(WTN.L: ) for about $3.25 billion to create the world’s
leading metallurgical coal producer. [ID:nLDE6B20EU]

European Union antitrust regulators have raided the offices
of some pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca Plc
(AZN.L: )(AZN.N: ), suspected of colluding to block cheaper generic
drugs from entering the market. [ID:nLDE6B20MP]
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Futures fall off 2-yr highs after payrolls data