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Pre-Market Primer: Ford Motor Company CEO Mulls Exit; Job Creation Falters

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A terrible summer for the US job market.

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Job creation in the United States disappointed in August.

American payrolls had a monthly net increase of only 169,000 last month, falling short of estimates. The unemployment rate declined slightly to 7.3% as the labor participation rate fell.

Economists, taking cues from encouraging manufacturing and jobless claims data, expected 180,000 new hires in August. June's number was revised down by 16,000 to 172,000 and July's was cut from 162,000 to 104,000.The biggest job gains were in the retail sector, while information services declined the most.

Before the jobs numbers came out, US stock index futures were in positive territory. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.11% at 14,933. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.18% to 1,656.00 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures gained 0.26% to 3,136.00.

European shares mostly fell as it was revealed that Germany's exports unexpectedly fell 1.1% on a monthly basis in July. This is despite the widespread recovery in the eurozone. Industrial production in the country fell 1.7% in the same month. A faltering economy could hurt Chancellor Angela Merkel's bid for reelection.

British industrial production was flat in July, but fell 1.6% from a year earlier.

The Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) fell 1.45% today despite a strong economic forecast from the government. After 14 straight months of standstill and worsening, July's coincident composite index showed a high likelihood of economic expansion.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) shares dropped over 5% in the pre-market after the gun maker offered disappointing guidance. The company beat earnings estimates for the past quarter with earnings per share of $0.28. Sales were up over 25% from a year earlier at $170 million. But for the current quarter, the company sees $0.22 per share at most, which fell short of analyst estimates.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) is reportedly ending its relationship with Martha Stewart. The former CEO, Ron Johnson, started the branded line despite Stewart's pre-existing relationship with rival Macy's (NYSE:M). A judge was about to rule on the celebrity's contract with Macy's.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares rose 0.67% today on reports that it is finally coming to an agreement to allow Japan's largest mobile carrier, DoCoMo, to carry the iPhone.

Reuters reported last night that Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally will step down in late 2014, which is sooner than expected. Mulally was credited with making changes that saved the automaker from collapse when he took the job in 2006.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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