NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose slightly in early trading Thursday as investors look over a mixed report on the job market. While payrolls grew overall, many people gave up looking for work and wage growth stalled. Bond prices rose.
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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,781 as of 10:16 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained three points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,080. The Nasdaq composite climbed five points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,018.
MORE JOBS: U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3 percent. But the rate fell mostly because many people out of work gave up on trying to find a job and were no longer counted as unemployed. The report also said average hourly earnings rose 2 percent, slightly lower than consensus.
ONE VIEW: Thomas Simons, an economist at the investment bank Jefferies, wrote in a report that the wage numbers showed a "glaring sign of weakness."
BOND BUYING: Investors bought bonds in anticipation that the inflation, and interest rates, will remain low. The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose, pushing down its yield to 2.38 percent from 2.45 percent just before the jobs report came out.
GREEK WATCH: Greece's government is pressing ahead with its plan to put austerity measures to voters after European creditors rebuffed its latest proposal for a new aid program. Greece failed to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund that was due on Tuesday after talks between the nation and its creditors broke down late last week.
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ANALYST'S TAKE: "The latest news from Greece was somewhat ambiguous," Mizuho Bank analysts said in a commentary. "Markets appear to have shifted attention to U.S. data releases, albeit temporarily."
MERGER NEWS: Health Net rose $8.55, or 13 percent, to $73.64 after Medicaid coverage provider Centene said it will pay about $6.3 billion to buy the company. The deal is more evidence of managed-care companies looking to bulk up in response to the federal health care overhaul.
GUSHER: U.S.-listed shares of BP rose $1.90, or 5 percent, to $41.18 after the oil driller reached an $18.7 billion settlement with several states to resolve litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
EUROPEAN STOCKS: Germany's DAX slipped 0.3 percent and France CAC 40 fell 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.5 percent. But China's Shanghai Composite slumped 3.5 percent.
U.S. HOLIDAY: U.S. markets will be closed Friday in observance of the Independence Day holiday.
Youkyung Lee contributed to this story from Seoul, South Korea.