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Economy

Wall Street Opens Flat as September Jobs Report Disappoints

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are opening mixed on Friday after a disappointing jobs report thudded onto Wall Street and raised questions about whether the Federal Reserve will change its timeline to pare back its support for markets. The S&P 500 was flat in early trading, on pace for a 1% gain for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq composite were also flat shortly after the open. Immediate reaction to the weak September jobs report saw Treasury yields fluctuate. Stocks of energy producers were leading the way after crude oil prices resumed their upward run.

(asterisk)(asterisk)THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE(asterisk)(asterisk) AP's earlier story appears below. 

U.S. stocks are opening mixed on Friday after a disappointing jobs report thudded onto Wall Street and raised questions about whether the Federal Reserve will change its timeline to pare back its support for markets. The S&P 500 was flat in early trading, on pace for a 1% gain for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq composite were also flat shortly after the open. Immediate reaction to the weak September jobs report saw Treasury yields fluctuate. Stocks of energy producers were leading the way after crude oil prices resumed their upward run.

Global stock markets rose as investors waited for U.S. jobs data Friday that might influence a Federal Reserve decision on when to roll back stimulus after lawmakers averted a possible government debt default.

London and Frankfurt opened higher. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Wall Street futures advanced.

Investors want to see whether U.S. hiring in September was strong enough for Fed officials who are discussing when to withdraw bond purchases and other stimulus that is boosting stock prices but say they want a healthy job market.

Friday's Labor Department data "will decide, in the markets' minds, whether the start of the Fed taper is a done deal for December," said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 1.7% to 7,079.73 while Frankfurt's DAX lost 0.3% to 15,208.73. The CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.2% to 6,586.79.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index lost less than 0.1%. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8% while the Dow added 1% after U.S. lawmakers agreed to extend Washington's borrowing ability into December. Lack of agreement might have led to a default experts say would set back a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite that truce, "concerns around the U.S. funding its government have far from dissipated," said Mizuho Bank's Venkateswaran Lavanya in a report.

Earlier, the S&P 500 swung between gains and losses of more than 1% for four days due to anxiety about the debt fight.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7% to 3,592.17 after Chinese markets reopened following a five-day holiday. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo jumped 1.3% to 28,048.94 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.6% to 24,837.35.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.1% to 2,956.30 while Sydney's ASX-S&P 200 added 0.9% to 7,320.10. India's Sensex gained 0.7% to 60,075.91. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets advanced.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported the number of people applying for unemployment fell last week.

Earlier, Fed officials responded to a spike in inflation by saying they wanted to be sure a recovery was established before withdrawing stimulus. Stronger employment might add to pressure for prices to rise faster, which investors worry might prompt the Fed and other central banks to wind down stimulus that has boosted stock prices.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.21 to $79.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 87 cents on Thursday to $78.30. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced $1.24 to $83.19 per barrel in London. It added 87 cents the previous session to $81.95.

The dollar rose to 111.95 yen from Thursday's 111.63 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1554 from $1.1550.

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