Following a lackluster August jobs report, investors now seem to think that the Federal Reserve may hold off on plans to start trimming its bond buying program later this month.
The economy added 169,000 jobs last month, fewer than the 185,000 economists surveyed by CNNMoney were forecasting. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 7.3%, as expected, but the drop was due a falling labor force participation rate. Job gains for both June and July were also revised lower.
Investors had been eagerly awaiting the jobs report, as it is the last major piece of economic data leading up to the Fed's next meeting in less than two weeks.
U.S. stock futures ticked higher after the release of the report, a sign that investors think that the economy is still to fragile to support the Fed's plan to begin winding down its stimulus support for the economy as early as this month.
Bond prices rose and Treasury yields fell sharply following the jobs report, with the 10-year yield dipping to 2.88% from nearly 3%. (Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.) Investors may be betting that the Fed will continue to buy $85 billion in bonds a month as opposed to tapering these purchases.
What's moving: Smithfield Foods ( shares edged higher after the meat processor posted a 10% increase in sales, but a drop in earnings due to weak experts to Japan, China and Russia. The company ) announced an agreement earlier this year to be acquired by China's Shuanghui International, a deal now awaiting approval from the U.S. government.
European markets were in the red in midday trading, though the declines were muted.