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U.S. equity markets zipped higher Friday after a round of weak jobs data inspired hopes the Fed may take more time to boost rates and cut its bond-purchasing program.
As of 2:55 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 134 points, or 0.86%, to 15764, the S&P 500 gained 19.7 points, or 1.1%, to 1793 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 58.8 points, or 1.5%, to 4116.
The economy has been in focus this week after a closely-watched report showed the U.S. factory sector nearly stalled in January. Other data have painted a more upbeat picture.
However, the monthly jobs report from the Labor Department is widely considered to be one of the most important economic indicators.
The U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs in January, falling well below Wall Street’s expectation of 185,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 6.6% from 6.7% the month prior, hitting the lowest level since 2008. The labor force participation rate rose to 63%, up from 62.8% in December.
"The U.S. labour market started the year on a weaker than expected footing, casting doubt on whether the Fed should proceed with any further tapering of its asset purchase programme," Chris Williamson, chief economist at London-based Markit wrote in an e-mail.
"The FOMC may choose to await a clearer picture of the economy, and especially to see the extent to which severe cold weather may have affected the data, before cutting QE any further."
Also on the economic front is a report from the Fed on consumer credit conditions.
Elsewhere, LinkedIn (LNKD) shares came under heavy pressure after the world's biggest professional network posted a disappointing forward outlook.
In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures fell 31 cents, or 0.33%, to $97.52 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.2% to $2.688 a gallon. Gold rose $5, or 0.4%, to $1,262 a troy ounce.