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Stocks Edge Upwards as Jobs Data Disappoints

Stocks inched upwards on Friday, as the December-payrolls report came in significantly below expectations, signaling weakness in the labor market and putting on hold thoughts of the Federal Reserve further cutting its stimulus policy.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 26 points higher in early morning trading and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were also up slightly.Ahead of the opening, stock-index futures trimmed their gains after the Labor Department reported the addition of 74,000 non-farm payrolls last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 6.7 percent. However, the jobs report had been expected to show that around 200,000 new jobs were created last month."I'm stunned by it, it's just not supportive of the trend we've seen," said John Lynch, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank, referring to several economic reports this week showing improvements in the labor market.Improvements in the labor market have been cited as central to Fed policy decisions, with minutes from the central bank's December meeting showing the central bank will continue tapering off its stimulus policy of monthly asset purchases.