LONDON – US stocks edged higher in volatile trading on Friday after data showed US jobs rose far less than expected in September, but not enough to throw the Federal Reserve off its presumed course of tapering asset purchases this year.
At 10:01 am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 24.85 points, or 0.07 percent, at 34,779.79, the S&P 500 was up 4.64 points, or 0.11 percent, at 4,404.40, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.64 points, or 0.02 percent, at 14,651.38.
The US Labor Department's closely watched nonfarm payrolls report showed hiring increased by 194,000 jobs last month, far less than the 500,000 jobs forecast by a Reuters poll of economists. While unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent from 5.2 percent in August, average hourly earnings rose by a more-than-expected 0.6 percent.
Elsewhere, stock markets slipped but held most of the previous session's gains as investors welcomed the US Senate's temporary lifting of the debt ceiling.
The rally on Thursday has lifted global stock indexes into positive territory for the week, despite widespread selling initially as investors fretted about soaring energy prices and the prospects of faster than expected interest rate rises to combat inflation.
Still, the mood remains nervous – oil prices rallied back towards multi-year highs and government bond yields climbed in early Friday trading.
By 1115 GMT, the Euro STOXX 50 was 0.23 percent weaker, while the German DAX dropped by 0.12 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was unchanged.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 50 countries, was up 0.06 percent and is now up 0.8 percent for the week. But the index is more than 4 percent off its record high reached in early September.
Wall Street futures pointed to a small gain at the open.
"There is so much liquidity out there and there is no alternative to stocks so each time there is a pullback, buy-the- dip kicks in. The can-kicking by Congress on the debt ceiling just added a bit of upspin to that," said Fahad Kamal, CIO at Kleinwort Hambros.
Supporting risk sentiment was the US Senate's approval of legislation to temporarily raise the federal government's debt limit and avoid the risk of a historic default, though it put off until early December a decision on a longer-lasting remedy.
The vote sparked a sell off in US government bonds, and 10-year US Treasury yields rose to as high as 1.6 percent, their highest since June when they touched the same level.
In Asia, the main share benchmark was supported by advances in Chinese blue chips which rose 1.31 percent as trading resumed after the week-long National Day holiday. The improved sentiment partly stemmed from a private-sector survey that showed China's services sector activity returned to growth in September.
Meanwhile, the US dollar index was little changed at 94.161 but not far from a 12-month high of 94.504 hit in late September.
Oil prices gained on signs some industries have begun switching from high-priced gas to oil and on doubts the US government would release oil from its strategic reserves for now.
Brent crude rose 0.71 percent to $82.53 a barrel, off its highs for the day but still closer towards a three-year high of $83.47 touched earlier in the week. US crude gained 0.72 percent to $78.88 a barrel, approaching its seven-year high of $79.78 also hit this week.