U.S. stock benchmarks opened higher Friday, putting the Dow on track to book its eight record close in a row as a healthy report on U.S. employment helped to lift buying sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% at 22,081, the S&P 500 index climbed 0.2% at 2,476, while the Nasdaq Composite Index traded flat but in positive territory at 6,344. Gains for U.S. equities come after a report from the Labor Department showed that the U.S. created 209,000 new jobs in July, beating Wall Street forecasts. Separately, the unemployment rate moved to 4.3% from 4.4%, retouching a 16-year low, while average-hourly wages matched expectations, rising 0.3%. The healthy report jolted Treasury yields modestly higher, with the 10-year benchmark Treasury note rising to 2.26%, compared with 2.23% late Thursday in New York. Bond prices and yields move inversely. The jobs data are seen as helping to support the Federal Reserve's efforts to normalize interest rates, which have hovered near historic lows. Bank shares, which benefit from higher rates, were leading early gains on the day, with the popular bank-centered, exchange-traded Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF rising 0.7% in early trade, led by gains in widely held bank stock, Bank of America Corp. , advancing 1.7% on the session. In other corporate news, GoPro Inc. shares surged 15% after after the wearable video-camera maker's quarterly results and outlook out late Thursday beat Wall Street estimates.
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