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Stocks set to rally after latest jobs report

Stocks are set to move higher Friday as investors digest a report that shows U.S. employment grew solidly for a third straight month.

The Labor Department's February payrolls report, released at 8:30 a.m. ET, showed a gain of 233,0000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent.

Greece averted the immediate risk of an uncontrolled default winning strong acceptance of its bond swap offer to private creditors. The market had run up for two days on hopes of success.

"It is a pure case of the market having discounted the fact there would be a successful Greek debt swap," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

Shares in Texas Instruments Inc were down 2.3 percent after the bell on Thursday after the chipmaker said it saw revenue growth resuming in the second quarter, signaling an end to the inventory correction that dogged it last year.

Aeropostale Inc was down 2.4 percent in late trading after the teen clothing retailer forecast spring-quarter profits below estimates and reported lower fourth-quarterly results.

China's annual consumer inflation slowed to a 20-month low in February, and factory output and retail sales also cooled, giving policymakers ample room to further loosen monetary policy.

Carnival Corp, the world's biggest cruise operator, is due to release first-quarter earnings. In January, the Miami-based company said the Costa Concordia catastrophe would wipe up to $175 million from profit this year.

General Motors Co and Italian carmaker Fiat talked briefly about merging their European businesses earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc and five major U.S. publishers it plans to sue them, alleging they colluded to raise the price of electronic books, a source told Reuters.

A South African court largely dismissed an appeal from the government and unions to roll back approval for Wal-Mart Stores Inc's purchase of Massmart Holdings Ltd .

European stocks traded in a narrow range Friday.

Reuters contributed to this report.