U.S. Stocks Gain on Surprise Fall in Jobless Rate

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A surprise fall in the U.S. unemployment rate to 7.7 percent for November gave markets a boost in opening trade Friday, with the jobs data showing little impact from superstorm Sandy.

Minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 52.76 points (0.40 percent) at 13,126.80.

The S&P 500 added 5.79 (0.41 percent) at 1,419.73, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 13.32 (0.45 percent) to 3,002.59.

The November jobs market data came in better than expected, with economy adding 146,000 jobs, a gain from October's 138,000, which had been revised downward from the previous report.

Overall, said economist Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics, "the trend in the unemployment rate has clearly been downward, with job growth strong enough given slowing in labor force growth."

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