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Wall Street set for jobs data hit

Wall Street trade looked likely to see stocks lower on Friday as yet another report of disappointingly slow growth in US jobs cast doubt on the strength of the economy and consumer spending.

US non-farm payrolls grew by 96,000 in September, below the 150,000 expected, and August payroll numbers were revised down by 16,000 to 128,000. The jobs report for September, the last to be revealed before the presidential election next month, may further weaken the fortunes on President George W Bush's re-election bid - giving Wall Street even further reason to chew over the weak numbers.

In premarket trading shortly after the announcement, the S&P 500 futures were off 4 points to 1,127.50, the Nasdaq futures were off 9.5 points to 1,453 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were off 40 points to 10,083.

"These numbers are exactly in line with what our leading indicators have been showing - there is no acceleration in the economy," said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute. "This idea that we had experienced a soft patch as opposed to a cyclical downturn in the growth rate of the economy remains a difficult one to argue."...