Sign of the Times: Unemployment Holding Steady is Now Good News

The stock market headed higher in morning trading Friday following news that U.S. employers added workers at a good clip for the fourth month in a row. 

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,947 as of 10:45 a.m. Eastern time. The benchmark for most investment funds reached another all-time high the day before.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,900, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 16 points, also 0.4 percent, to 4,313.

EMPLOYMENT PICTURE: Before the market opened, the Labor Department said employers added 217,000 jobs to their payrolls in May. That's down from 282,000 in April but in the range of what economists had expected. The unemployment rate stayed put at 6.3 percent. Wall Street's forecasters had expected it to inch up.

REACTION: "It's another positive sign, along with retail sales, housing and everything else we've been seeing," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "There's nothing in this report to slow this market down, but all everyone has wanted to talk about is why the market is going to fall."

EUROPE: Major European markets climbed Friday. Germany's main stock index, the DAX, rose 0.4 percent, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent.

ASIA: By contrast, most Asian markets ended lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.7 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended little changed.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury slid to 2.56 percent from 2.59 percent late Thursday. Yields fall when bond prices rise. The price of oil rose 45 cents to $102.92 a barrel.

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