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Wall St rallies to snap three-week skid

Published on Feb 8, 2014 6:19 AM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - United States (US) stocks jumped on Friday, giving the S&P 500 its first weekly gain in four as the impact of a weak reading on the labour market was dulled by harsh weather conditions and traders focused on expectations of further economic strength.

Nonfarm payrolls added 113,000 jobs in January - well shy of the forecast for 185,000. December payrolls were revised upward by only 1,000 to 75,000. The US unemployment rate in January hit a five-year low of 6.6 per cent, slightly above the 6.5 per cent level that Fed officials have said would prompt them to consider raising benchmark interest rates from near zero.

The rapid drop in US unemployment will make re-crafting the Federal Reserve's easy-money promise a top priority for new chairman Janet Yellen, who will probably avoid tying policy to specific targets in the labour market.

Strong job gains in construction hinted that cold weather was probably not a major factor in January job creation. Traders appeared to expect that the January numbers will be revised upward next month. The data also showed job gains in manufacturing.

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