Europe stocks up on US jobs data

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - European stocks and U.S. market futures got a boost Friday from the news that the U.S. economy created 155,000 new jobs last month.

Stocks had been down earlier, held back by U.S. Federal Reserve minutes from its December meeting that revealed some officials favored ending the central bank's extraordinary stimulus measures this year. The Fed's ongoing bond purchases have helped lower interest rates and pumped newly created money into the economy, helping support an economic recovery.

Stocks in Europe had been trading down slightly but moved higher after the U.S. non-farm payrolls figures roughly met market expectations. The unemployment rate in the world's biggest economy was unchanged at 7.8 percent.

In early afternoon European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was 0.3 percent up at 6,068.00. Germany's DAX was barely up at 7,758.93 and France's CAC-40 was off 0.1 percent on the day at 3,715.70. Wall Street looked to open higher. Dow Jones futures rose 0.1 percent to 13,334 while S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 percent to 1,456.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark stock index soared Friday on its first trading day in the new year as investors belatedly joined the rally over the last-minute budget deal reached in Washington to avoid steep, automatic tax increases and spending cuts. The measure, however, was also largely seen as crisis avoidance — putting off hard decisions about how to reduce government spending and deal with America's massive debt.

Relief rallies on staving off the so-called "fiscal cliff" faded in Europe and the U.S. after the Fed minutes Thursday showed that officials were divided about how long to continue its extraordinary stimulus measures.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.8 percent to 10,688.11, its highest closing in 22 months. Much of the enthusiasm for Japanese shares comes from the steadily weakening yen, a big help to Japanese companies that sell abroad.

Investors have high hopes that new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies, centered on loose monetary policy and public spending, will pull the world's third-largest economy out of the doldrums.

Export shares boomed. Suzuki Motor Corp. soared 7.9 percent, Nikon Corp. advanced 5.2 percent and Toyota Motor Corp. jumped 6.4 percent.

Elsewhere, however, investor fervor wilted. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.3 percent to 23,331.09. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.4 percent to 2,011.94, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 4,723.80. China was mixed.

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