Stocks close higher after US and China set new trade talks

Stocks rose slightly Friday, putting the major indexes on track for a three-day winning streak, despite the release of weaker-than-expected jobs data.

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The Dow was up 85 points, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.2%. The Nasdaq turned flat, giving up earlier gains. 

The U.S. economy added 130,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobs to grow by 150,000 last month. Unemployment remained steady at a rate of 3.7% while wages grew more than expected. Wages expanded by 0.4% on a month-over-month basis and by 3.2% year over year.

August marked the third straight month that job creation in the U.S. slowed. In June, 178,000 jobs were added while 159,000 were created in July.

Treasury yields dipped from their session highs on the data. The 10-year Treasury yield slipped to 1.57% from around 1.6% earlier in the day.

“That payroll number was not great, but it’s not bad,” said Jeff Kravetz, a regional investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “It probably keeps the Fed on track for a rate cut.”

Friday’s data and moves come as investors look for clues about the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy move later this month. Market expectations for a 25 basis-point rate cut are at 91.2%, according the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Stocks were headed for solid weekly gains after the U.S. and China agreed to hold high-level talks in early October. The Dow and S&P 500 were up 1.2% and 1.6% for the week, respectively entering Friday’s session. The Nasdaq had gained 1.9% week to date.

The news about the trade talks raised hopes that the world’s two largest economies could soon make substantial progress in de-escalating their protracted trade dispute.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that Liu He, the country’s top trade negotiator,

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