The major U.S. stock indexes were mostly higher in early trading Friday following a solid jobs report, keeping the market on track for a weekly gain after two weeks of losses.
The modest gains came despite an escalation in global trade tensions as the U.S. imposed tariffs on billions in Chinese goods and China responded in kind.
Health care stocks posted the biggest gains, led by Biogen. The drugmaker’s stock soared 18 percent to $353.28 on encouraging results from an Alzheimer’s therapy. Industrials companies took some of the biggest losses.
The S&P 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,744 as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed at 24,340. The Nasdaq composite added 44 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,631. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,686.
The Labor Department said that U.S. employers added 213,000 jobs in June. Average hourly pay rose just 2.7 percent from a year earlier, which means that after adjusting for inflation wages remain nearly flat.
Investors were pleased to see that U.S. employers kept up a brisk pace of hiring last month, without having to hike wages that much. Markets were watching to see if tight labor market conditions would force wages higher, a sign of inflation.
While market jitters over U.S. trade policy intensified in recent weeks, Wall Street had a tempered reaction to the rollout of U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports. On Friday, Beijing called the move the start of the “biggest trade war in economic history.”
“The market actually is acting very calmly,” said Francis Lun, chief executive of GEO Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “But of course, the talk of a trade war already depressed the market for about