Economy

Markets unmoved by broadly in-line US jobs data

LONDON (AP) — European stocks closed the week on a high Friday after investors concluded that U.S. jobs data wouldn't prompt a change in the Federal Reserve's policy stance. U.S. stocks, however, gave up some early gains to trade modestly lower.

The U.S. Labor Department found that the world's largest economy added 192,000 jobs in March. That was slightly below February's total of 197,000 but more or less exactly the consensus of analysts' expectations. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent.

Because the figures matched predictions, they failed to change perceptions over the future policy path of the Federal Reserve. Over the past few months, the Fed has been reducing its monetary stimulus amid mounting evidence of a sustainable economic recovery in the U.S.

"The upshot is that tapering will continue unabated, but markets have learnt to cope with this status quo and are unlikely to be troubled by it as we head into the new week," IG market analyst Alastair McCaig said.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.7 percent at 6,695.55 while Germany's DAX rose the same rate to 9,695.77. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.8 percent higher at 4,484.55.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.1 percent at 16,557 while the S&P 500 index fell 0.3 percent to 1,882. The dollar was trading more or less where it was before the data, with the euro down 0.1 percent at $1.3700. On Thursday, the euro faltered as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi stressed that the bank was ready to act if inflation in the 18-country eurozone remained low.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.1 percent to 15,063.77 and Seoul's Kospi drifted down 0.3 percent to 1,988.09. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.2 percent to 22,510.08. But mainland China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.7 percent to 2,058.83 while Australia's S&P ASX/200 added 0.2 percent to 5,422.80.

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