US stocks rise after September jobs data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks were slightly higher early Friday after US unemployment fell to a 48-year low in September even as job creation lagged expectations.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 26,647.81, up 0.1%.

The broad-based S&P 500 and tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index both rose 0.2%, with the S&P 500 at 2,906.42 and the Nasdaq at 7,893.46.

The US Labor Department estimated that the country added 134,000 net new positions last month, far weaker than analysts expected and a figure that was likely dented by Hurricane Florence.

However, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% last month from 3.9%, an unusually large drop and the lowest reading since December 1969.

“Despite the hurricane-weakened headline rise, this was a strong report,” said FTN Financial’s Chris Low, noting the job gains for July and August were revised up by a combined 87,000.

Among individual companies, Tesla Motors fell 3.7% after Chief Executive Elon Musk mocked the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Twitter, sparking worries that an SEC settlement on fraud charges with Musk that let him remain CEO could fall apart.