Wall Street
US stocks gained ground on 8 January but remained on course for hefty weekly lossesReuters

US equity markets opened in positive territory on 8 January, with investors buoyed by a better-than-expected jobs report as Wall Street aimed to recoup part of this week's hefty losses. Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.65%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were 0.70% and 1.13% higher respectively.

Figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the US economy added 292,000 jobs in December, comfortably above the median forecast from economists for a 200,000 gain, while the figures for October and November were both revised to show a bigger increase than initially reported.

According to government figures, 252,000 new jobs were created in November rather than the expected 211,000, while October's gain was revised upward from 298,000 to 307,000, making it the biggest gain of last year.

"The payroll gains, meanwhile, are broad-based, with robust gains in finance, business services, leisure, education and health," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"The 45,000 jump in construction, after a 48,000 gain in November, has likely been substantially boosted by the very warm late fall weather and will reverse in due course."

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5%, although almost 500,000 people returned to the labour market, but hourly wages fell by a cent to $25.24 (£17.33, €23.22) marking the first decline in a year

Among individual stocks, Apple was on the front foot, rebounding from the previous session's slide, when it closed under $100 amid concerns over iPhone demand. Shares in delivery giant FedEx edged higher after European Union regulators gave the green light to its proposed takeover of Dutch rival TNT Express, but clothes retailer Gap was firmly in the red after it posted a drop in sales in December.

Elsewhere, China's Shanghai Composite Index closed up 1.97% after Chinese authorities removed the circuit-breaker system that had twice halted trading on China's main benchmark this week, although the index closed the first week of 2016 down 10%.

"Considering this change in tactic and the normal improvement in equity volumes in the second week of the year, we might be entitled to be a little bit more optimistic about next week," said IG's market analyst Alastair McCaig.

"The absence of a doomsday scenario in Asia has enabled European equity markets to replicate the Asian bounce as a calmer sense of fair value has seen the bulls come back into the market."

European stocks wavered throughout the day and with just over an hour of trading left France's CAC 40 was 0.3% lower, while the Pan European Stoxx 600 was flat and Germany's Dax and Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3% and 0.4% respectively.

Oil prices extended losses, with Brent and West Texas Intermediate futures sliding between 0.3% and 0.5%, putting both benchmarks on track for a 9% decline this week.