Stocks inch higher as better-than-expected jobs report doesn’t fully offset trade uncertainty

U.S. stocks were slightly higher in early trading on Friday, after a read on the labor market came in stronger than expected. The employment report offered the latest indication that economic fundamentals remained strong despite ongoing uncertainty around trade policy.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.18% were unchanged at 24,355. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.48% were up 4 points to 2,741, a gain of 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.76% rose 25 points, or 0.3%, to 7,611.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors were higher in early trading, with the health-care sector the biggest gainer by far, up 0.9% as Biogen rallied. The technology sector rose 0.2%.

For the week, the Dow is up 0.4%, the S&P is up 0.9%, and the Nasdaq has gained 1.4%.

What’s driving markets?

The U.S. created 213,000 new jobs in June, above the 200,000 that had been expected, while the readings for May and April were also revised higher. Separately, the unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.8%, which could reflect a higher participation rate, as well as an increase that might be tied to the end of the school year.

Separately, the nation’s trade deficit shrank 6.6% in May to a 19-month low, just a month before the first wave of U.S. tariffs on foreign goods in a broadening dispute over unfair trade practices.

On the political front, the Trump administration officially imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports at midnight Eastern Time, and Beijing implemented tariffs on the same value in U.S. goods, as promised.

For weeks, stock markets have stuck in a tight trading range, amid concerns that a global trade war is developing and could weigh on economic growth.

What are strategists saying?

“Perfect is the word for the

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