Stocks Higher Thanks to Jobs Report

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are mostly higher Friday morning after a slightly weak jobs report reassures investors that the Federal Reserve probably won't raise interest rates again soon. Automakers are rising as they report their sales for the month of August. Stocks are on track for their sixth gain in a row.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,474 as of 10:02 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 53 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,002. The Nasdaq composite, which closed at a record high a day ago, lost 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,425. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,407.

US JOBS: The Labor Department said U.S. job growth slowed in August as employers added 156,000 jobs. That was a bit less than analysts expected, and the agency also trimmed its estimates for hiring over the previous two months. Still, businesses continue to hire workers at a steady pace. Average hourly pay inched higher, and inflation has remained below the Federal Reserve's target of 2 percent.

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates three times in the last year. The slightly weaker jobs report may help to convince investors that rates will stay where they are into 2018. The combination of continued economic growth and low interest rates has been good for stocks.

STEPPING ON THE GAS: Car makers traded higher as they began to report their monthly sales. U.S. sales were expected to grow slightly in August, which would be their first monthly gain of 2017. However it's not clear if Hurricane Harvey stopped large numbers of people in the Gulf Coast region from buying autos. The Houston metro area is the ninth-largest vehicle market in the nation.

General Motors said its sales rose 7.5 percent over last August thanks to strong sales of SUVs, and its stock gained 70 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $37.24. Ford, which said sales fell 2 percent, picked up 30 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $11.33. Fiat Chrysler gained 53 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $15.67.

FEELING FIT: Clothing company Lululemon climbed after its second-quarter results were better than analysts expected. Investors were also pleased with its profit and revenue forecasts. That suggests the athletic-inspired apparel maker may not be feeling the woes that have affected other sporting goods companies recently. Lululemon stock jumped $4.01, or 7 percent, to $61.56.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude sank 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $46.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 41 cents to $52.45 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline prices, which have surged this week, lost 7 cents, or 3.8 percent.

BONDS: Bond prices moved lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.16 percent from 2.12 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.13 yen from 109.98 yen. The euro slipped $1.1870 to from $1.1903.

OVERSEAS: The French CAC 40 gained 1 percent and Germany's DAX advanced 1 percent as well. In Britain, the FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2 percent and the Kospi in South Korea lost 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed.

(BE)