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Wall Street Opens Higher, Shrugging off Weak Jobs Report; Dow up 110 Pts

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·2 min read
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By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- U.S. stock markets opened higher on Friday, with the S&P hitting a new record, as a sharp slowdown in hiring was seen as raising the chances of a substantial fiscal relief package from Congress in short order.

By 9:40 AM ET (1440 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 110 points, or 0.4%, at 30,080. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.2%.

Earlier, the Labor Department had said that the pace of hiring in the U.S. economy slowed sharply in November, adding only 245,000 new nonfarm jobs. That was the smallest gain since May, and well below expectations for 469,000 new jobs.

James Knightley, chief international economist at ING, called the labor market report “a disappointing read throughout,” that left total U.S. employment still nearly 10 million below February's level.

Meanwhile, labor force participation edged down to 61.5%, 1.9 percentage points below its February level, suggesting that unemployment and underemployment remains markedly higher than the official jobless rate, which fell to 6.7% from 6.9%.

The report comes at the end of a week when Congressional Republicans and Democrats have restarted talks on a stimulus package. Democrats in both chambers have embraced a bipartisan package worth just over $900 billion, but Senate Leader Mitch McConnell still prefers a stripped-down bill worth some $400 billion less, according to various reports.

Among early movers, DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) stock stood out with an 8.9% gain on the back of a strong quarterly update after the close on Thursday. The broader rally in business software providers also continued, with Snowflake (NYSE:SNOW) stock rising another 8.1%.

Glencore (OTC:GLNCY) ADRs also rose 4.6% after the world’s largest mining and commodities company said its chief executive Ivan Glasenber will step down in the first half of next year. He’ll be succeeded by the group’s head of coal, Gary Nagle.

Losses continued, however, in the ADRs of Chinese electric vehicle groups, amid ongoing concern both at their high valuations and at the passage of a law through Congress this week that could force them to delist from U.S. exchanges. Nio (NYSE:NIO) ADRs were down 5.5%, while Xpeng (NYSE:XPEV) ADRs were down 3.6% and Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI) ADRs were down 4.0%

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