U.S. stocks edge up after strong jobs data, mixed earnings

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

US stock index futures inched lower on Friday, as subdued factory data from China and disappointing outlook from Amazon stalled optimism after the S&P 500 posted its best month since 2015.

The U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The re-opening of the US government, the dovish FOMC statement, progress in the US-China trade talks and a strong January payroll report all helped to boost sentiment", Ksenia Bushmeneva, an economist with TD Economics, said in a note.

"It's really hard not to see this set of data as anything other than positive", said Matt Forester, chief investment officer at Lockwood Advisors.

Data from China showed that the manufacturing sector shrank for the second straight month in January, pointing to further strains on the economy that could heighten risks for global growth.

The insurer's shares, along with other pharmacy benefit managers took a hit after the USA government proposed a rule to end the industry-wide system of after-market discounts called rebates, which they get from drugmakers. "It is the biggest disparity we have seen in decades".

It added that the unemployment rate edged up to 4 percent.

At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 109.06 points, or 0.44 percent, to 25,108.73.

USA wants to keep troops in Iraq to ‘watch Iran’
Trump said on Thursday he would bring USA troops home if a peace deal was reached to end 17 years of war in Afghanistan. The US troops' withdrawal from Syria was announced by Trump in December 2018.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 1.78 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,702.32.

Oil major Exxon Mobil (XOM) climbed 3.6% after a mixed quarterly outcome and an increase in production, while Chevron (CVX) beat on the top and bottom lines, ending 3.2% higher.

On the other hand, on the back of US sanctions on Venezuela and OPEC's declining output, the barrel of West Texas Intermediate rose above $55 to boost the S&P 500 Energy Index, which added 1.83% to lead the gains.

A barrel of American oil rose 2.8 percent in price to $ 55.30.

The insurer's shares, along with other pharmacy benefit managers, took a hit after the U.S. government proposed a rule to end the industry-wide system of rebates, which they get from drugmakers, in efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs for consumers. CVS Health Corp fell 1.2 percent and UnitedHealth Group Inc slipped 0.9 percent, dragging the S&P healthcare index down 0.2 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.01-to-1 ratio on the NYSE.

The results weighed on the Nasdaq, while retailers Walmart Inc, Macy's Inc and Kohl's Corp dropped about 2 percent. Supported by the data, the S&P 500 Industrials Index closed 0.2% higher.

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