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U.S. markets declined on Friday on solid jobs data that fuelled speculations on a mid-year rate-hike. The U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January, exceeding expectations for a rise of 231,000 jobs, after a gain of 329,000 jobs in December. December's figure was revised up from a rise of 252,000 jobs. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 5.7% in January from 5.6% in December as the number of job seekers grew. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 5.6%. Average hourly earnings increased 0.5% in January, beating forecasts of a 0.2% gain, after a 0.2% drop in December.
Renewed worries over Greek debt negotiations weighed on the markets. On late Friday S&P downgraded Greece from B- to B, only one notch higher than "default" and kept the outlook for Greece negative.
The DOW JONES index lost -0.34% closing at 17,824.29 points. The S&P 500 declined by -0.34% with a final quote of 2,055.47 points. Still both indices registered strong gains for the week. The Dow Jones rose the most in one week since January 2013.
Chinese stocks were mixed on Monday after data on Chinese trade published on Sunday was far worse than analysts expected. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading -0.41% at 24,578.52 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,095.12 points +0.62%. Market participants bet on further monetary easing by the People's Bank of China as the economic slowdown further aggravates.
Japan's Nikkei added gains on Monday, closing +0.36% with a final quote of 17,711.93 points fuelled by strong U.S. jobs data but gains were limited by weak Chinese trade data.
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