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Stocks Open Higher After Jobs Boost

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. stocks opened higher Friday after the government reported the U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in October.

The Dow Jones industrial Average and Nasdaq increased 0.2% and the S&P 500 added 0.3%.

The monthly jobs report showed that the economy added 171,000 jobs last month. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expected 125,000 jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8% in September, in line with expectations.

The monthly jobs report has taken on increased importance amid the economic downturn. President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have also been focusing much of their campaigns on who can create more jobs. The report comes just four days before the elections.

Friday’s trading session caps a week shortened by Superstorm Sandy, as the area around the New York Stock Exchange remains without power for a fourth day.

After the start of trade on Friday, the Census Bureau will release data on September factory orders.

U.S. stocks rose Thursday, starting November on a high note after mostly upbeat jobs reports.

Other economic reports Thursday showed gains in manufacturing, consumer confidence and auto sales. But experts say the recession in Europe remains the biggest challenge to sustained global growth.

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World Markets: European stocks were higher in afternoon trade. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3%, the DAX in Germany added 0.5%, and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.7%.

Asian markets closed higher. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.3%, and Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.2%. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.6%.

Economy: September factory orders are expected to have increased by 4.5%, according to a survey of analysts by Briefing.com.

Companies: Shares of Starbucks jumped Friday, one day after the coffee shop operator reported strong same-store sales growth and increased its dividend.

LinkedIn’s stock soared after the social media company topped Wall Street’s expectations.

Shares of Priceline surged after the online travel site beat earnings forecasts. The good news spilled over to other online travel sites, with shares of TripAdvisor, which also reported earnings Thursday, moving higher.

Verizon said that Hurricane Sandy may have a “significant” impact on its fourth-quarter results. The company said it is working to restore communications services to affected customers, but that it could take some time.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was higher against the euro, he British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery fell 0.5% to $86.62 a barrel, narrowing losses from earlier in the morning.

Gold futures for December delivery fell sharply after the jobs report, falling more than 1% to $1,696.40 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury also fell significantly after the report, pushing the yield up to 1.77% from 1.71% late Thursday.
   
By CNNMoney staff
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