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US stocks surge more than 1% despite weak jobs growth

US stocks surged on Friday despite a labour report that said the US economy added far fewer jobs than expected in January.

NEW YORK: US stocks surged on Friday despite a labour report that said the US economy added far fewer jobs than expected in January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 165.55 points (1.06 per cent) to 15,794.08.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 23.59 (1.33 per cent) at 1,797.02, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 68.74 (1.69 per cent) to 4,125.86.

The gains came after the Labor Department said the economy added 113,000 jobs in January, far below the 175,000 forecast.

Analysts said there were some positive aspects to the report, such as the rise in labour force participation.

Some analysts said the unusually severe winter weather in January may have been a factor in the tepid jobs growth.

"In general, it was a disappointing jobs report," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

"But if you buy the argument that the polar vortex has had an impact on the economy then it's probably a pretty good jobs report."

Apple rose 1.4 per cent after chief executive Tim Cook said in an interview that the company bought back $14 billion in stock in the wake of a disappointing earnings report released in late January that hit Apple's valuation.

Citigroup shares shot up 2.3 per cent on a bullish research note by Bank of America, which said worries about the bank's weak fourth-quarter earnings and exposure to emerging markets were excessive.

Internet travel company Expedia got a big lift from fourth-quarter earnings of 92 cents per share, handily beating estimates of 86 cents. Shares jumped 14.3 per cent.

Expedia's results also boosted other online travel companies, including TripAdvisor (+9.5 per cent) and Priceline (+5.0 per cent).

Twitter, which lost nearly one-fourth of its value Thursday on a disappointing earnings outlook, enjoyed a partial recovery. Shares advanced 8.6 per cent.

But one tech company that suffered Friday was LinkedIn, which projected 2014 revenues of $2.02-$2.05 billion, well below the $2.16 billion expected by analysts. Shares tumbled 6.2 per cent.

Gap Inc. jumped 5.8 per cent on data that showed it bucked the trend of weak retail sales during the year-end holiday shopping season. Fourth-quarter comparable sales rose one per cent.

The retailer forecast earnings of 65-66 cents per share for the fourth quarter, more than the 61 cents projected by analysts.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury slipped to 2.67 per cent from 2.70 per cent, while the 30-year rose to 3.67 per cent from 3.65 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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