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Stocks trading mixed after jobs report

11:54 AM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week.(Photo: Stephen Chernin, AFP/Getty)
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LONDON -- U.S. stocks were trading mixed Friday after the U.S. Department of Labor said the unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 7.8% and 155,000 nonfarm jobs were created -- on target with economists' forecasts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down just a few points after opening slightly higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was trading up 0.2%, and was just shy of breaking through the bull market high intraday. The Nasdaq composite index was 0.2% lower in late morning trading.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose to 1.94% from 1.9% Thursday and 1.7% last Friday. Gold prices fell $28, or 1.7%, to $1,646.60, suggesting that gold bugs don't see much of a threat of inflation in the latest employment report.

The euro was trading flat against the dollar at 1.3041 while the dollar gained 0.5% against the yen at 87.96. The price of oil continued to fall, down 0.2% to $92.74 a barrel.

Wall Street stocks reacted poorly Thursday to minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve that showed opinion was divided over how long the central bank should keep in place its program of economy-supporting bond purchases. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all ended Thursday's session with losses.

On Friday, market attention turned to the government's December jobs report.

Economists had forecast -- right on the money -- that employers added 155,000 jobs in December, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be slightly higher than November's 146,000, revised downward by 2,000 in today's report. The unemployment rate wa projected to remain at 7.7%.

The December employment data added some context to jobs reports released Thursday from private research firms that showed private-sector employers added a better-than-forecast 215,000 jobs in December, although weekly applications for unemployment benefits moved higher, to 372,000.

In Japan, the nation's benchmark Nikkei 225 leaped nearly 3% as the stock index, closed over the recent holiday period, was given its first opportunity to react to the news of a deal over the so-called "fiscal cliff" in Washington. A weakening yen was also a factor helping to push Japanese stocks higher. Major markets in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region declined.

In Europe, stocks were tilting lower before the U.S. market open.

USA Today

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