US stocks tick higher on solid jobs report

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks opened somewhat higher on Friday after a monthly United States labour report showed more jobs were added in February than in December or January.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.98 (0.19 per cent) to 16,453.87.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 2.93 (0.16 per cent) at 1,879.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 7.91 (0.18 per cent) to 4,360.03.

The monthly Labour Department report said the US economy added 175,000 jobs in February, an improvement after jobs growth had plummeted the prior two months.

Some analysts had expected another weak report in light of extremely cold weather that has depressed economic activity, contributing to disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.

Also Friday, the Commerce Department said the US trade deficit rose to US$39.1 billion (S$49.4 billion) in January, more than the US$37.3 billion expected by analysts.

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