Stocks were mixed in early trading on Friday after the government reported that U.S. employers added fewer jobs than forecast in August.
Bonds rose on the news. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which falls when its price rises, dropped to 2.41 percent from 2.45 percent late Thursday.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than a point to 1,997. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,055. The Nasdaq composite rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,565.
JOBS FLOP: U.S. employers added 142,000 jobs in August, snapping a six-month streak of hiring above 200,000 and posting the smallest gain in eight months, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent, falling because more people without jobs stopped looking for one and thus were no longer counted as unemployed.
Economists had expected employers to add 220,000 jobs.
ANALYST TAKE: "A very disappointing employment report is going to make life a lot easier for Janet Yellen and the more dovish wing at the Fed," said Alan Ruskin, an analyst at Deutsche Bank.
GAP SALES: Gap slumped $2.09, or 4.4 percent, to $44.51 after reporting that a key sales measurement slumped in August. The retailer said sales at stores open at least one year fell 2 percent over the four weeks that ended Aug. 30. Revenue from Gap stores open over that time fell 6 percent. The will pressure the brand's profit margins in September.
EUROPE: Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed. Britain's FTSE 100 index was down 0.5 percent at 6,844 while France's CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent to 4,489. Germany's DAX was 0.3 percent higher at 9,749.
UKRAINE CEASE-FIRE: Traders are also keeping a close watch on developments in the Belarus capital of Minsk as talks are expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine. The crisis in Ukraine has been a key geopolitical worry in markets over the past few months. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he would sign a cease-fire if negotiators reached an agreement. The rebels also promised to declare a truce if a political settlement for the mostly Russian-speaking region is signed.
CURRENCIES: A day after the euro slumped after the European Central Bank surprised markets by cutting interest rates and enacting a new stimulus program, Europe's single currency rebounded, trading up 0.3 percent on the day at $1.2974. The dollar was at 105.22 yen after rising as high as 105.71 yen, the highest level since October 2008, from 105.38 in late trading Thursday.
ENERGY: The price of oil stabilized after slumping on a report that U.S. supplies fell less than expected last week.
Benchmark crude oil was down 4 cents to $94.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Stock Exchange after falling $1.09 on Thursday.