U.S. and European stocks traded only modestly higher after news that the American economy kept creating jobs at the expected rate last month.
The price of oil fell slightly as investors weighed the possibility that the US Federal Reserve might end its extraordinary economic stimulus measures later this year.
Brent February crude fell $1.23 to $110.91 a barrel by 1738 GMT, back below its 100-day moving average of $111.22. The session low was $110.38, Reuters reported. US February crude was down 37 cents at $92.55.
The Labor Department reported U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December.
Major indexes moved a little higher after the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls figure but didn't get much of a bounce from the numbers.
The Dow Jones industrials average was up 0.1 percent at 13,340.64 in midday trading in New York, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 was up 0.3 percent at 1,463.26.
Stocks in Europe had been down early in the session. Britain's FTSE closed 0.7 percent to 6089.84 and the German DAX rose 0.26 percent to 7776.37. France's CAC 40 climbed 0.2 percent to 3730.02.
Japan's benchmark stock index soared 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.
Most Popular Stories
- Americans Still Pessimistic Despite Economic Growth
- GE Capital and Petters-Related Fund in Legal Battle
- Combating Online Abuse Not Easy for Gamers
- Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, but Nowhere to Go
- California Conservation Conundrum: Water Use Varies Greatly Across State
- Even With Surly 2014 Electorate, It's 'Still an Incumbent's World'
- Detroit Raced Toward this Week's Bankruptcy Trial
- New Hershey's Logo Revealed
- California Passes First US Statewide Bag Ban
- Obama on Labor Day: Don't Take Rights for Granted