By Ankur Banerjee and Parikshit Mishra
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained on Friday after payrolls data showed strong job additions in February, but muted wage growth indicated a gradual rise in inflation that tempered expectations of faster interest rate increases.
Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 313,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said, its biggest increase in more than 1-1/2 years.
Average hourly earnings edged up four cents, or 0.1 percent, to $26.75 in February, a slowdown from the 0.3 percent rise in January. That lowered the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent in January.
"The great news is the labour participation rate went up, the headline numbers are great, and the average hourly earnings has settled back down into consensus," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.
"It's a great report across the board and I think that moves markets higher."
Strong jobs data last month fuelled speculation that higher wages could lead to faster interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve and make borrowing expensive, rattling global equities market.
However, the slow wage growth in February could temper expectations that the Fed will change its rate forecast to four hikes this year from three.
The bull market for stocks turned nine years old on Friday and, despite being long in the tooth, appears poised to set the record as the longest in history, buoyed by global economic growth and stronger company earnings.
At 9:46 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 130.37 points, or 0.52 percent, the S&P 500 was up 14.29 points, or 0.521729 percent.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 41.94 points, or 0.56 percent, at 7,469.89.
Signs of a potential breakthrough in nuclear tensions in the Korean peninsula also lifted sentiment, with world markets hitting one-week highs on Friday.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)