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US markets settle higher on Friday on strong job data

The US markets settled higher with notable gains on Friday as traders remain energized with better-than-expected job growth in the month of March and progress on the US-China trade front. The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 196,000 jobs in March after edging up by a revised 33,000 jobs in February. Street had expected employment to increase by about 180,000 jobs compared to the uptick of 20,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. The US unemployment rate remained at 3.8%. However, wage growth expanded 3.2%, below an expected gain of 3.4%. Meanwhile, energy stocks gained, benefiting from a notable increase by the price of crude oil. Housing and utilities stocks also showed strong moves to the upside in the market, while some weakness emerged among tobacco stocks.

Besides, continued indications of progress in US-China trade talks after the latest round of high-level negotiations adding optimism among investors. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said the two sides have conducted fruitful consultations in the past two days, especially on important issues such as the text of economic and trade agreements. Inventors will be looking ahead to the reports on factory orders, consumer and producer prices, and import and export prices are likely to attract attention next week along with the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 40.36 points or 0.15 percent to 26424.99, Nasdaq surged 46.91 points or 0.59 percent to 7938.69 and S&P 500 was up by 13.35 points or 0.46 percent to 2892.74.

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