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US: Wall Street opens higher on strong US jobs report


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks pushed higher Friday, with the Dow moving past its seventh straight record, buoyed by a strong US jobs report.

About 30 minutes into the final trading session of the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 per cent to 22,050.16, retreating slightly from the open.

The broader S&P 500 was up the same amount to 2,477.08, while the tech-dominant Nasdaq had barely budged at 6,345.13.

The closely-watched monthly employment report showed the US economy added 209,000 jobs in July, higher than analysts expected, pushing the unemployment rate back down to 4.3 per cent.

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The strong gain for June was revised even higher.

Meanwhile, the US trade deficit fell in June due to a surge in exports and a decline in imports pushed by a weaker US dollar.

Analysts said investors also were cheered by another good batch of earnings reports released after markets closed Thursday. analyst Patrick O'Hare said mostly better-than-expected earnings and an employment report that was largely in line with expectations allowed the market to continue its upward climb.

"The key takeaway from the (jobs) report is that it fit that sweet spot yet again where job growth was strong but wage growth was not," O'Hare said.

The jobs gain could reinforce expectations for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate a third time this year, after it first begins to reduce its enormous bond holdings.

"The data don't change our forecast for the Fed to start balance sheet normalization in September, followed by another rate hike in December," said Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics.

Energy and financial stocks were moving higher, with Chevron up 0.4 per cent and American Express rising 0.55 per cent.

Apple was up 0.75 per cent, still buoyed by its solid earnings report earlier in the week, while Teva Pharmaceuticals fell 7.7 per cent after its disappointing results.