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Stocks waver as optimism about job report fades

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By Associated Press

Stocks are moving between small gains and losses Friday, giving up an early rally after the government reported that hiring picked up in July.

European leaders are calling emergency meetings and seeking to reassure markets that a large nation such as Italy or Spain won't become the latest country in the region to need a financial backstop.

A U.S. government report that hiring improved in July sent stocks sharply higher just after the market opened. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped as many as 171 points but gave up those losses by midmorning. An hour after the opening bell, the Dow was down 7 points.

The economy added 117,000 new jobs in July, and hiring in May and June were not as bad as reported previously, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate inched down to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent, partly because some unemployed workers stopped looking for work. Health care providers and manufacturers added jobs.

About twice as many jobs as that must be created every month in order to rapidly reduce the unemployment rate. That rate has topped 9 percent in every month except two since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Many economists still fear that the economy might dip back into recession.


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