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US stocks open higher despite soft jobs data

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New York: US stocks opened higher on Friday, the first trading day of September, despite a weaker-than-expected jobs report.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 38.18 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 21,986.28. The S&P 500 added 5.10 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 2,476.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.83 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 6,443.49.

US total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in July, missing market expectations, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.4 percent, the US Labor Department said on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Investors have kept a close eye on the nonfarm payroll report, looking for clues for the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy move.

Expectations for tighter monetary policy in the US have been dampened recently by soft inflation data. Market expectations for a rate hike in December are just 37.3 per cent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Analysts said investors will now be looking to the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting for further clarification on the reduction of its balance sheet. The market has widely expected the US central bank to start unwinding its balance sheet that amounts to around $4.5 trillion this month.

Meanwhile, US construction spending during July was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.21 trillion, 0.6 per cent below the revised June estimate, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The July figure is 1.8 per cent above the July 2016 estimate of $1.19 trillion .

IANS

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