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US: Wall Street swings to split finish; notches weekly gains

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US stocks finished little changed on Friday after a ho-hum report on jobs creation and encouraging words from the chairman of the central bank.

[NEW YORK] US stocks finished little changed on Friday after a ho-hum report on jobs creation and encouraging words from the chairman of the central bank.

But Wall Street's major indexes nevertheless posted gains for the week, after investors gleaned hopes of progress in the US-China trade war and Hong Kong's long-running political drama.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent to 26,797.46. The broader S&P 500 gained less a tenth of a per cent, closing at 2,978.71.

But the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.2 per cent to 8,103.07.

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All three indexes gained between 1.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent for the week, marking their second straight week of gains.

US employers added a weaker-than-expected 130,000 net new jobs in August, showing a hiring slowdown across industrial sectors.

Gorilla Trade strategist Ken Berman said the surprisingly weak jobs number is "slightly worrying for bulls" but, given low unemployment and rising wages, "the consumer economy should continue to drive economic growth in the US."

Speaking in Zurich on Friday, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed that policy makers would "act as appropriate" to sustain the American economy's expansion - a signal to markets that a rate cut is likely this month.

Investors also digested news of more economic stimulus in China but worryingly weak industrial output in Germany.

Among individual companies, shares in Facebook fell 1.8 per cent after several state attorneys general announced they were pursuing an antitrust investigation of the company's consumer data and advertising practices.

AFP