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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher after jobs data
January 6, 2017 / 1:50 PM / in a year

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher after jobs data

* 156,000 jobs added in December vs est. 178,000

* Unemployment rate rises to 4.7 pct; wages up 0.4 pct

* Futures up: Dow 5 pts, S&P 1.5 pts, Nasdaq 5.75 pts (Adds details, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open slightly higher on Friday after data showed employment in December rose less than expected but a rebound in wages suggested sustained growth in the labor market.

The public and private sectors together added 156,000 jobs last month, a U.S. Labor Department report showed, compared with economists’ expectation of 178,000.

Average hourly earnings increased 10 cents, or 0.4 percent, after slipping 0.1 percent in November. That pushed the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.9 percent, the largest increase since June 2009.

Unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7 percent.

The report adds to a recent spate of robust economic data across sectors including manufacturing and automobiles. This, coupled with President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge for fiscal stimulus, could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than anticipated.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting released on Wednesday showed that almost every Fed policymaker agreed Trump’s measures could call for a faster move on rates. The central bank currently expects to raise rates thrice this year.

Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.03 percent at 8:35 a.m. ET, with 13,598 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.07 percent, with 82,541 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.12 percent, on volume of 12,408 contracts.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and his Dallas counterpart Robert Kaplan are scheduled to speak at separate events on Friday and could provide their take on interest rates.

Amgen’s shares rose 3.9 percent premarket after a U.S. district judge blocked Sanofi and Regeneron from selling their cholesterol drug, which Amgen said infringed its patents. Regeneron dropped 4.8 percent.

Gap rose 8.6 percent to $25.25 after the apparel retailer posted a surprise rise in December comparable store sales and said it expected 2016 profit to be above the higher end of forecast. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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