US stock indexes flip between gains and losses following a weak jobs report last week

Markets Associated Press

The stock market is flipping from losses to gains on Monday following a weak jobs report late last week. A rise in crude oil above $50 a barrel helped pull energy companies up.

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KEEPING SCORE: As of 10:25 a.m. Eastern time, the Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up three points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,070. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,785, and the Nasdaq composite rose three points, a sliver of a percent, to 4,890. U.S. stock trading was closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.

U.S. JOBS: The Labor Department reported Friday that employers added just 126,000 workers to their payrolls last month, the smallest gain since December 2013. For markets it was mixed news. It's another sign of slower economic growth but also adds more pressure on the Federal Reserve to put off raising interest rates. Historically low rates have helped feed the stock market's long run.

A DEAL: Ventas announced plans to buy Ardent Medical Services, a hospital chain, for $1.75 billion and spinning off most of its skilled nursing facilities. Ventas, an investment trust focused on health care, surged $3.52, or 5 percent, to $76.73.

NOT YET: The planned merger between Hudson City Bancorp and M&T Bank has run into another delay. Hudson City said the Federal Reserve won't sign off on the deal before April 30, a deadline for the merger to move ahead. Hudson City Bancorp sank 67 cents, or 6 percent, to $9.81, while M&T dropped $4.39, or 3 percent, to $122.83.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices slipped slightly, nudging the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 1.87 percent. Bonds jumped on Friday following the employment report, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury down to its lowest level in two months.

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QUIET ELSEWHERE: Major markets in Europe were closed for Easter Monday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed with a loss of 0.2 percent, while Seoul's Kospi gained 0.1 percent. India's SENSEX surged 0.9 percent. Many other major markets, including those in Australia and China, were closed.

QUOTE: "Friday's big U.S. payrolls miss would typically have shocked markets into a big move," analyst Nicholas Teo at CMC Markets in Singapore said in a commentary. "With the extended Easter weekend break, however, traders may have had the time to digest this huge blow, along with their chocolate eggs."

CRUDE: Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.15 at $50.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude was up $1.50 at $56.45 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro gained against the dollar, rising to $1.1023 from $1.0895 on Friday. The dollar was little changed against the Japanese currency at 119 yen.