Outside the New York Stock Exchange. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images )
Stocks initially -- but barely -- continued their rise despite a disappointing August jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor.
A weakening labor market may add pressure to the Federal Reserve to act when it meets later this month, and investors may be anticipating another round of central bank stimulus that could boost investments and lower rates.
Major U.S. stock indexes were mixed in early trading.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 13 points, or 0.1%, to 13,305 shortly after the opening bell on Wall Street.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3 points, or 0.2%, to 1,435. The Nasdaq was down 4 points, or 0.1%, to 3,132.
The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added only 96,000 jobs in August, well below the 125,000 analysts expected and less than half predicted by the payroll processing firm ADP on Thursday.
A disappointing employment report may lead investors to plow money into stocks nonetheless. The Federal Reserve has hinted it may pump more monetary stimulus into the economy if conditions worsen, and that could have the effect of pushing up stock prices.
U.S. stock markets rallied 2% on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a plan to buy bonds from debt-saddled countries to ease their borrowing costs. Stocks roared to four-year highs.
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