World stocks supported by strong US jobs data

Global shares were little changed after a surprisingly strong US jobs report for November was tempered by a drop in American consumer sentiment.

The dollar edged up though the currency was off its highs as investors parsed the details of the labor market report, one of the most closely watched economic indicators.

US nonfarm employment increased by 146,000 jobs last month, data showed, defying expectations of a sharp pull-back related to superstorm Sandy that hit the US Northeast in late October.

"The gain was sharper than expected, particularly in light of the hurricane, so certainly something that was a pleasant surprise. We'll take it," said Gordon Charlop, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York.

"We will just have to see overall how much of an effect one number can have on what is really a market that is pointing toward Washington and 'fiscal cliff' negotiations," he said.

Uncertainty over whether US lawmakers will agree on a deal to avert spending cuts and tax increases was likely to continue to keep investors on edge. Any signs of how the talks are progressing could cause more fluctuations in the markets.


Republican House Speaker John Boehner accused US President Barack Obama of pushing the country toward the fiscal cliff and of wasting another week without progress in talks.

Wall Street was mixed by the early afternoon after data showed anxiety over the pending higher taxes likely soured consumers' attitudes in early December.

"While it is just one measure of consumer sentiment, maybe the constant barrage of back and forth in DC with no resolution yet is having an impact," said Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

The Nasdaq fared worse than the other major indexes, weighed again by shares of Apple, which were down 2.79 per cent at $US532.00.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56.94 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 13,130.98. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.54 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 1,415.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 15.99 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 2,973.27.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended up 0.1 per cent and the MSCI world equity index also edged up 0.1 per cent.

The dollar soared to session peaks immediately following the jobs data, but the momentum faded through the day. The dollar index was up 0.2 per cent.

The euro fell to a session low of $US1.2878 on Reuters data, matching the low set on Nov. 28. It was last down at $US1.2932, having trimmed earlier losses, with traders citing a Market News International report that senior European Central Bank Executive Board members opposed a rate cut supported by the majority at the ECB's most recent policy meeting earlier in the week.

But the euro remained under pressure after Germany's central bank cut its growth outlook and pointed to risks of a recession as the three-year-old debt crisis takes its toll on the region's largest economy.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was down 11/32, the yield at 1.63 per cent.