Wall Street opens higher despite disappointing jobs report

US markets opened on the front foot after today's key jobs report showed that employment increased in December, but at a slower rate than many economists had predicted.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the US economy added a disappointing 148k jobs in December, when economists expected the total to be upwards of 180k.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, while average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents to $26.63.

However, the BLS jobs report provided some degree of reassurance to investors as to the overall health of the economy.

Today's early rise continues the trend of record highs registered every trading day this week, as global investor sentiment remains high.

Meanwhile, war of words between North Korea and the US appeared to have been put to one side as North and South Korea agreed to official high-level talks, the first direct contact between the two countries in more than two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 65.18 points to 25,140.31, half an hour into the final session of the week.

The broader-based S&P 500 climbed 7.29 points to 2,731.28 and the tech-focused NASDAQ was up by 27.31 points at 7,105.23.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 was up 5.09 points at 7,700.97, the DAX was up by 126.75 points at 13,294.64 and the CAC 40 was 41.40 points higher at 5,455.09.

COMMODITIES

At around 2:55pm (UK time), West Texas Intermediate crude was $61.41 per barrel (-0.97%) and Brent crude was $67.60 per barrel (-0.69%).

Gold was 0.26% weaker at $1,318.20 an ounce, silver was 0.43% lower and copper was down 0.93%.

OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

The US trade deficit rose to $50.5bn in November, up $1.6bn from $48.9bn in October, the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis said today.

Non-manufacturing PMI data from ISM and monthly figures on factory orders are due later this afternoon.