The S&P 500 and Dow industrials have closed slightly higher as investors digested a mixed US jobs report and bet on a Federal Reserve interest rate cut this month, while China’s stimulus plan helped ease some concerns around global growth. US job growth slowed more than expected in August, with retail hiring declining for a seventh straight month.

However this was countered by strong wage gains which are expected to support consumer spending and keep the economy expanding moderately amid rising threats from trade tensions. Speaking at the University of Zurich on Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the labour market was strong and the central bank will continue to “act as appropriate” to sustain economic expansion. He also said the US and the world economy are not likely to fall into recession.

Earlier, China’s central bank said it would slash the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, releasing a total of 900 billion yuan ($US126.35 billion) in liquidity to shore up the flagging economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.45 points on Friday, or 0.26 per cent, at 26,797.6, the S&P 500 gained 2.72 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 2978.72 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.75 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 8103.07. For the week, the S&P 500 rose 1.8 per cent, while the Dow added 1.5 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.8 per cent.

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