US Stocks Edge Lower After Jobs Data

NEW YORK (AP) --- U.S. stocks fell in early trading Friday, after a solid jobs report kept alive the possibly that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as next month.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,378 as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,079 and the Nasdaq composite fell nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,046.

US JOBS: U.S. employers added a solid 215,000 jobs in July, signaling a steadily rising job market and providing a key piece of data for the Fed in its assessment of whether the economy can withstand higher interest rates.

While the number was slightly below the 225,000 jobs Wall Street economists were looking for, it was still good enough to show that the U.S. economy continues to improve.

"This is another solid report that, in our view, meets the criteria for 'some further improvement' in labor market conditions and thus will keep the Fed in play in September," said Michelle Girard, an economist at RBS, in a note.

Fed policy makers have held rates at close to zero for more than six years to stimulate the economy after the Great Recession.

CURRENCIES AND BONDS: The U.S. dollar rose against other currencies as traders anticipated higher rates. The euro fell 0.5 percent to $1.088, and the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 124.75 yen.

Government bonds rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.21 percent from 2.23 percent on Thursday.

EUROPE AND ASIA: European stocks remained mostly lower after the jobs data. Germany's DAX fell 0.3 percent, France's CAC-40 lost 0.3 percent, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil fell 47 cents to $44.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

(KA)