U.S. stocks end mixed after key jobs report

NEW YORK, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street's major indexes finished mixed on Friday after the November U.S. labor data came in stronger than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34.87 points, or 0.10 percent, to 34,429.88. The S&P 500 was down 4.87 points, or 0.12 percent, to 4,071.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 20.95 points, or 0.18 percent, to 11,461.50.

Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with energy and technology down 0.6 percent and 0.55 percent, respectively, leading the laggards. Materials climbed 1.1 percent, the best-performing group.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that the country's employers added 263,000 jobs in November, a decrease from October's upwardly revised 284,000, but higher than the consensus estimate of 200,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent.

"Another solid rise in payrolls, but another month with fewer jobs added than the month before," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note on Friday.

"There is nothing in this report that will be compelling to the Fed one way or there other," he said. "That is, there is no reason to be more aggressive in hiking rates, but there is also no reason to stop hiking either."

Earlier this week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled the U.S. central bank may slow the pace of interest-rate increases as soon as the December meeting, while stressing that borrowing costs will need to keep rising and remain restrictive for some time to beat inflation.

Markets are pricing in a 77 percent chance of a 50 basis-point rate hike at the Fed's December meeting, according to CME Group data on Friday.

For the week, the Dow added 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.1 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

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