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    Stock market today

    Stock market today, Friday, Jan. 9: Good morning! Stock market futures Friday morning forecast a 31-point gain from yesterday's close. On Thursday, the Dow Jones rallied 323 points on expectations that the European Central Bank will take more aggressive action to stave off deflation and debt crisis, coupled with swirling optimism for the U.S. economy.

    Today will center on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. This morning, the December jobs report indicated that the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs last month, surpassing consensus expectations of 240,000. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 5.6%.

    While that may fuel a short-term surge in the markets, investors remain cautious about the Federal Reserve's desire to raise interest rates this year. In a speech yesterday, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said that the central bank should not increase rates in 2015; however, he is not a voting member of the FOMC this year. That sentiment was followed by voting-member Charles Evans. The Chicago Fed President told a CNBC audience this morning that the U.S. job markets have shown strong growth. But, he said, he'd like the central bank to wait until 2016 to raise interest rates.

    Here's what else you should know about the stock market today - including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day" - to make it a profitable Friday...

December jobs report

Dismal December Jobs Report Tells Us What the Government Doesn't Want To

People fillling questionairre form

After several months of promising reports, December's brutally low numbers delivered a sobering dose of reality. Even a welcome decline in the unemployment rate to 6.7% masked bad news. But the key point now is what this jobs report tells us about the health of the U.S. economy, and, in particular,

what that means for stocks...

What the December U.S. Jobs Report Tells Us About 2013

The December U.S. jobs report released Friday showed the country's unemployment rate failed to improve in the last month of 2012, with the economy adding only 155,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate, originally reported as 7.7% for November, was revised upward for that month to 7.8%, and stayed the same for December.

The figure was roughly in line with expectations. Estimates for the number of jobs created in December ranged between 140,000 and 160,000.

Non-farm payroll hiring in December was most robust in health care, which created 45,000 jobs. Manufacturing, construction and hospitality also logged strong gains.

Oddly, employment dipped in retail during the holiday-sales month, which is usually the most active time for the sector.

The government also shed jobs, dropping 13,000.

After eliminating some 653,000 jobs from 2008 to 2011, state and local governments kept headcount mostly even in 2012. The decline in December could be attributed to the economic uncertainty hanging over Capitol Hill.

The Pentagon has warned that workers may have to be furloughed if the debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, set to be taken up in a few weeks, is dragged out past next month.

Also weighing on government hiring is the pack of problems that will challenge growth, like rising worker pension costs, steep spending cuts and reduced federal funding that will likely kick in during 2013.

As Moody's chief economists told USA Today, "The fiscal headwinds will be blowing hard in 2013."

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