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US stocks end near flat after strong jobs data

Wall Street stocks concluded another strong week with a nearly flat session on Friday (Feb 1), pausing from a heady January following strong jobs data and mixed earnings.

US stocks end near flat after strong jobs data

A trader works ahead of the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Feb 1, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: AFP/Johannes Eisele)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks concluded another strong week with a nearly flat session on Friday (Feb 1), pausing from a heady January following strong jobs data and mixed earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 64.22 points (0.26 per cent) to 25,063.89 to close out its sixth straight week of gains.

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 2.43 (0.09 per cent) to 2,706.53, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 17.87 points (0.25 per cent) to 7,263.87.

Analysts said the rally that had propelled stocks since late December and produced the Dow's best January in 30 years was showing signs of fatigue.

"The indexes are basically flat and consolidating some of the recent gains," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

US employers added 304,000 net new positions last month - the highest in nearly a year and almost double what economists had predicted - while growth in worker pay held steady just above inflation, according to the January US jobs report.

However, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.0 per cent, the highest in seven months, as the labour force expanded and as the US government was partially shut for five weeks, most of which fell in January.

The Dow was lifted by stronger-than-expected profits at oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron, both of which each gained more than three percent.

But Amazon fell 5.4 per cent on disappointment over the online retailer's profit forecast. The company reported a 63 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profits to US$3 billion.

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