- U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday, as the release of downbeat U.S. employment data fuelled fresh speculation that the Federal Reserve could slow down the tapering of its stimulus program.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 rose 0.28%, the S&P 500 gained 0.36%, while the Nasdaq added 0.19%.

In a report, the Department of Labor said the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, confounding expectations for a 200,000 increase. February''s figure was revised up to a 197,000 rise from a previously estimated 175,000 increase.

The private sector added 192,000 jobs last month, below expectations for a 195,000 rise, while February''s figure was revised up to 188,000 jobs added from a previously estimated 162,000 increase.

The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7% last month, disappointing expectations for a downtick to 6.6%.

In the financial, J P Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) climbed 0.49% after the U.S. lender said it will merge the operation that produced a $6.2 billion trading loss in 2012 with another business unit.

Among tech stocks, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) advanced 0.80% after the company''s Nest Labs, a digital-thermostat maker acquired earlier in the year, said it is suspending sales of its smoke alarm after it determined the unit could be switched off unintentionally.

Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) added to gains, up 4.23%, after the oil and gas company said it would pay more than $5 billion to clean up areas across the U.S. polluted by nuclear fuel, wood creosote and rocket fuel waste, resolving a long-running lawsuit.

On the downside, McDonald''s (NYSE:MCD) slipped 0.13% as the fast food chain announced that it had suspended work at its restaurants in Crimea for "manufacturing reasons," becoming the second international company to cease operations this week on the peninsula.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) was also on the downside, sliding 0.34% even after saying users of its Vine video application can now send their contacts private videos and other messages, in a move to step up competition with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) in the mobile-messaging market. Facebook shares were up 0.40%.

On the earnings front, CarMax (NYSE:KMX) reported earnings and revenue below expectations, sending shares down 2.78%. However, the auto retailer increased its share buyback program by $1 billion.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.41%, France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.49%, Germany''s DAX climbed 0.52%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 rose 0.53%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng fell 0.24%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.05%.

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