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US: Wall Street stocks dip on mixed US jobs report

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks on Friday opened lower after a government report showed strong US jobs growth in December, but weak wage levels.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,872.48, down 35.39 points (0.20 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 2.33 (0.11 per cent) to 2,059.81, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 1.59 (0.03 per cent) to 4,734.59.

The US economy added a solid 252,000 jobs in December, while unemployment dropped to 5.6 per cent from 5.8 per cent in November, the Department of Labor said.

However, hourly earnings, one sign of just how strong the economy is, fell back, almost totally reversing the previous month's surprise gain. Hourly earnings were up just 1.7 per cent from a year ago, just keeping up with inflation.

Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare called the payrolls data "good," but said the wage trend "wasn't encouraging at all." The US Federal Reserve "should still be thinking it has plenty of reason to be patient in raising the fed funds rate," Mr O'Hare said.

AFP