World markets rise after positive US jobs figures

PARIS (AP) — Global stock markets mostly rose after a better-than-forecast U.S. jobs report today offset gloomier data showing consumer confidence in the world's largest economy had slumped.

The Labor Department's report showed the economy added tens of thousands more jobs than anticipated and the unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008.

That suggests the economy is recovering steadily, though concerns remain over U.S. politicians' ability to reach a budget deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," a mix of tax increases and spending cuts due to kick in next year.

Concern that a deal may not be reached in time appears to be weighing on consumer confidence — a University of Michigan index showed it fell sharply in December to a four-month low.

France's CAC-40 closed up 0.1 percent to 3,605.6, while Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.2 percent to 5,914.4. Only Germany's DAX slipped — 0.2 percent to 7,517.8 — on the back of weak industrial production figures and a downbeat economic forecast from the country's central bank.

Major U.S. indexes rose on the open before the consumer confidence figures tempered their rise. By afternoon in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.4 percent at 13,123, while the S&P 500 was flat at 1,414.

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