By Gunjan Banerji and Anna Isaac
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped past the 29000 milestone for the first time after fresh jobs data showed that unemployment hovered at a 50-year low in December.
The blue-chip index rose 46 points, or 0.2%, to 29003.10 in early trading. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.3%. All three indexes were on track for fresh records.
The jobs data showed employers added 145,000 jobs in December, capping a 10th straight year of payroll gains.
However, the pace of hiring slowed last year, reflecting global economic uncertainty, fading effects of 2018's tax cuts and employers' difficulty in finding enough workers. Private-sector wages advanced 2.9% in December from a year earlier, the smallest annual gain since July 2018.
Government bond yields dropped on the report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.834% in early trading, from 1.857% on Thursday, before paring declined. Yields fall as bond prices rise. Gold prices also inched higher.
Investors were closely watching the U.S. Labor Department's December jobs report for any signs of a slowing economy. The figures don't stoke concerns about the economy overheating or heading toward an imminent recession, analysts said. Low wages alongside robust hiring have buoyed markets in recent years, and the latest data indicated that scenario persists.
The continued job creation in 2019 -- on the heels of payroll gains every year since 2010 -- would help bolster the Federal Reserve's view that monetary policy doesn't need to be eased further as the U.S. economy is continuing to grow. Some analysts said the latest figures didn't alter the outlook on monetary policy.
"I just don't think it's a needle-mover either way," said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. "The stock market has a lot of momentum going for it."
On Thursday, two senior Fed officials said they saw no need to change short-term interest rates soon, and that they were upbeat about the economic outlook.
"The employment rate is still below what it was before the financial crisis," said Florian Hense, an economist at Berenberg Bank. "What would make them raise rates is wage inflation close to 4%, and we're pretty far from that."
Write to Gunjan Banerji at Gunjan.Banerji@wsj.com and Anna Isaac at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 10, 2020 10:27 ET (15:27 GMT)
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