US stocks end near flat after strong jobs data

VIDEO: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks concluded another strong week with a nearly flat session on Friday (Feb 1), pausing from a heady January following strong jobs data and mixed earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.3 per cent to 25,063.89 to close out its sixth straight week of gains.

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 0.1 per cent to 2,706.53, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3 per cent to 7,263.87.

Analysts said the rally that had propelled stocks since late December and produced the Dow's best January in 30 years was showing signs of fatigue.

"The indexes are basically flat and consolidating some of the recent gains," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

US employers added 304,000 net new positions last month - the highest in nearly a year and almost double what economists had predicted - while growth in worker pay held steady just above inflation, according to the January US jobs report.

However, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4 per cent, the highest in seven months, as the labor force expanded and as the US government was partially shut for five weeks, most of which fell in January.

The Dow was lifted by stronger-than-expected profits at oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron, both of which each gained more than three percent.

But Amazon fell 5.4 per cent on disappointment over the online retailer's profit forecast. The company reported a 63 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profits to US$3 billion (S$4 billion).