The stock market of the United States ended the trading session higher driven by speculations that the Federal Reserve will not accelerate its plan to increase interest rates given the lower-than-expected jobs data.

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Today, the Department of Labor reported that the economy added 142,000 jobs in August, the lowest number this year. Economists were expected 225,000 jobs. They suggested that the figure showed a pause in the momentum of the labor market in the United States as companies evaluate prospects for demand.

The agency reported that the U.S. unemployment rate declined from 6.2% to 6.1% last month. The data in July was revised from 209,000 to 212,000 jobs.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Alan Gayle, director of asset allocations as RidgeWorth Investments commented, “This data point is much more dovish. It promotes the argument of keeping rates lower for longer. It supports Yellen’s more measured moving away from tightening.”

The Federal Reserve is monitoring the strength of the labor market as it reduces the amount of its bond-buying program and contemplates on the schedule of raising interest rates. The next meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) is set on September 16 to 17.

Yesterday, European Central Bank (ECB) President announced its decision to reduce all interest rated and two new programs to purchase asset-backed securities and covered bonds issued by banks in the euro zone.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 17,136.79 (+0.39%)
  • S&P 500- 2,006.81 (+0.46%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,582.90 (+0.45%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,169.77 (+0.22%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,275.25 (-0.06%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,855.10 (-0.33%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,747.02 (+0.23%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15,668.68(-0.05%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 25,240.15 (-0.23%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,449.26 (+0.95%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) increased more than 2.39% to $63.95 per share after the company reported that its fourth-quarter sales increased by 6.2% to $19.06 billion. Its quarterly sales performance beat the $19.01 billion consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts.

The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) declined 4.16% to $44.65 per share after the company reported that its net sales in August were flat at $1.23 billion. Analysts expected the retailer to achieve a 1.7% gain last month. Several analysts suggested that the company will likely face margin pressure this quarter as it tries to clear its excess inventory.

The shares of Michael Kors Holding Ltd (NYSE:KORS) fell 4.48% to $76.39 per share after the company announced that Sportswear Holdings Ltd, its largest shareholder will sell 5.7% or 11,629,627 shares worth approximately $930 million.