US stock futures nudge higher following job gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Dow Futures rose slightly early Friday after the government reported another strong round of hiring in December, while the unemployment rate fell to a six-year low. Bond yields rose as investors anticipated that growth in the economy would continue to outpace other countries.

KEEPING SCORE: U.S. index futures were up slightly in the half-hour before regular stock trading began. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures edged up 0.1 percent as of 9:04 a.m., Dow Jones industrial average futures also rose 0.1 percent. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.02 percent, up from 1.99 percent shortly before the jobs report came out.

EUROPE: Markets mostly fell in Europe. France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX shed 0.1 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent. Asian stocks posted solid gains.

JOBS REPORT: 2014 turned out to be the best year for hiring in the U.S. in 15 years. The Labor Department reported that employers added 252,000 jobs last month, slightly more than economists expected. The government also said more jobs were added in October and November than it had previously estimated. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent. Wage growth, however, remained weak.

THE QUOTE: “There is no batch of data that is viewed as being more important than the U.S. jobs report,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari in London.

ENERGY: U.S. crude fell 23 cents to $ 48.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude fell 50 cents to $ 50.46 a barrel. A dive in the price of oil earlier in the week had sparked a big sell-off in global stock markets. The price of the commodity has fallen by more than half since June last year as traders try to price in a glut of supply due to increased production.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi added 1.1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The euro edged up to $ 1.1795 from $ 1.1792 the previous day. The dollar fell to 119.49 yen from 119.80 yen.

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