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Stocks edge up after positive jobs data for August

September 05, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Stocks jumped in light trading Friday after the government reported that U.S. employers' payrolls shrank last month by the smallest amount in a year.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 97 points to halve its loss for the week after the Labor Department released the jobs report. It showed that unemployment rose to 9.7% in August from 9.4% in July, the highest level since June 1983 and above the 9.5% level that economists had anticipated on average.

The loss of 216,000 jobs in August, however, was smaller than expected and down from 276,000 in July. Traders said the figure was an encouraging sign that the labor market could be righting itself.

The Dow climbed 96.66 points, or 1%, to 9,441.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.16 points, or 1.3%, to 1,016.40, while the Nasdaq composite index added 35.58 points, or 1.8%, to 2,018.78.

The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies rose 1.4%.

About four stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Volume was thin before the long holiday weekend. U.S. markets will be closed Monday for Labor Day.

For the week, the Dow dropped 103 points, or 1.1%, the S&P 500 index lost 1.2% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.5%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.44% from 3.35% late Thursday.

In other trading, the dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices retreated from a six-month high. The precious metal's near-term futures contract fell 90 cents to $994.90.

Oil futures rose 6 cents to $68.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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