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US stocks mixed after February jobs report

NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks were mixed in early trade Friday after a monthly US labor report showed more jobs were added in February than in December or January.

About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36.03 points (0.22 percent) to 16,457.92.

The broad-based S&P 500 was essentially flat, up 0.03 point at 1,877.06, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 18.64 (0.43 percent) to 4,333.48.

The monthly Labor Department report said the US economy added 175,000 jobs in February, an improvement after jobs growth had plummeted the prior two months.

Some analysts had expected another weak report in light of extremely cold weather that has depressed economic activity, contributing to disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.

Also Friday, the Commerce Department said the US trade deficit rose slightly to $39.1 billion in January, instead of a decline to $37.3 billion expected by analysts.

Supermarket chain Safeway fell 3.3 per centto $38.18 after unveiling a merger with Albertsons that will create a retail giant with more than 2,400 stores and 250,000 employees. Under the deal, Albertsons’s owner Cerberus agreed to pay $40 a share for Safeway.

Retailer Gap released disappointing February sales data, saying that same-store sales sank seven per centas more than 450 stores experienced closures due to bad weather. Shares dropped 2.3 percent.

Earnings from Foot Locker came in at 81 cents a share, five cents above expectations, lifting the stock by 7.4 percent. Total sales in 2013 rose 5.2 per cent from the prior year.

Cybersecurity company FireEye took a hit as it announced a follow-on offering of 14 million shares of stock priced at $82 per share. Shares fell 6.4 per cent to $83.81.

Bond prices tumbled. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury jumped to 2.80 per cent from 2.73 per cent, while the 30-year increased to 3.74 per cent from 3.69per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP




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