World stocks hold gains after mixed US jobs data

LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets held onto their gains Friday after a mixed U.S. jobs report that raised the possibility the Federal Reserve might delay another cut to its stimulus program.

The U.S. economy, the world's largest, added only 113,000 jobs in January, far below the 170,000 analysts had been expecting. Following a weak December, it suggests the U.S. recovery is losing speed compared with the end of 2013.

There were some mildly positive signs, however. The U.S. unemployment rate, for example, dipped to 6.6 percent, the lowest since late 2008, and more people sought jobs. Although the stock market gains suggest some traders think the Fed might hold off on another cut to its stimulus program, economists warned that was not a done deal.

"Given the strength of economic growth in the second half of last year, we expect to see a rebound in the monthly gains over the next few months," said Paul Ashworth, economist at Capital Economics, who expects the Fed to continue to wind down its stimulus program.

In Europe, Germany's DAX stock rose 0.5 percent to close at 9,301.92 while the CAC 40 in France rose 1 percent to 4,228.18. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent to 6,571.68. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.5 percent at 15,707 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.8 percent to 1,787.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged 2.2 percent to 14,462.41 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent to 21,636.85. South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.8 percent to 1,922.50 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,166.50.

China's Shanghai Composite, which reopened after a long Lunar New Year holiday, rebounded from opening losses to rise 0.6 percent to 2,044.50. Benchmark U.S. oil for March delivery was up 50 cents at $98.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.3612 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent at 102.27 yen.

Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this report.

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