Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday, after the release of strong U.S. jobs data added to optimism over a recovery in the U.S. labor market.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.46%, the S&P 500 index climbed 0.40%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.25%.
The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics said the economy added 236,000 jobs in February, far more than the expected 160,000 increase, after a 119,000 rise the previous month.
The U.S. private sector added 246,000 jobs, beating expectations for a 167,000 increase, following January's 140,000 rise.
The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate ticked down unexpectedly to 7.7% in February, from 7.9% the previous month. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged last month.
In the tech sector, Google dipped 0.01% amid reports the company's Motorola Mobility unit is preparing to cut another 1,200 jobs or 10% of its workforce, as the smartphone maker tries to return to profitability.
Separately, a judge ruled on Thursday that Apple must show in detail how it’s complying with court orders to turn over evidence in a privacy lawsuit, sending shares in the iPhone maker down 0.32%.
According to Bloomberg, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, issued the order after the plaintiffs’ lawyers claimed Apple withheld documents it had previously been ordered to produce.
On the upside, insurer American International Group jumped 0.97% after saying it will redeem USD1.1 billion of debentures as the company seeks to reduce debt before reinstating a dividend.
Elsewhere, Pandora Media soared 22.76%, after posting stronger-than-expected quarterly results. The company also said CEO Joseph Kennedy is stepping down in a surprise announcement.
In the financial sector, stocks were mixed. Bank of America advanced 0.57% and Citigroup rallied 2.20%, while JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs slid 0.57% and 0.76% respectively.
Other stocks in focus included Ann Taylor and Foot Locker, due to report earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 jumped 1.52%, France’s CAC 40 rallied 1.44%, Germany's DAX gained 0.82%, while Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.72%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rallied 1.41%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.64%.
Also Friday, official data showed that China's trade surplus narrowed less-than-expected in February, falling to USD15.3 billion from a surplus of USD29.2 the previous month. Analysts had expected the trade balance to fall into a deficit of USD8.8 billion last month.