Wall Street moved lower early on Friday (4 March) as a much better-than-expected jobs report, which highlighted that the US labour market remained in good health, failed to inject any momentum into the US equity markets.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.12% lower at 16,922.91, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were 0.10% and 0.31% lower respectively, as US stocks failed to extend the gains logged in the previous session.
Data released by the Labor Department showed the US economy added 242,000 jobs in February, rebounding strongly from a 172,000 figure in the previous month and well above the consensus for a 195,000 reading.
January's figure was revised upward from 151,000 to 172,000 and the Labor Department indicated the US economy added 272,000 instead of the 262,000 that was initially reported. However, the report showed the average hourly wage fell 0.1%, to $25.35 (£17.89, €23.11), while hourly pay rose just 2.2% year-on-year and the amount of time people worked each week dropped a fifth of an hour to 34.4 hours, the lowest level since 2014.
Overall, however, economists said the report was a clear indication that labour market conditions in the world's largest economy remain strong.
"The lack of a more marked pick-up in wage growth is the only missing element," said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics.
"But as far as the Federal Reserve is concerned, it is already seeing a clear acceleration in core price inflation, so it can't delay raising interest rates for much longer. A June rate hike is coming."
Elsewhere, oil prices gained ground, with Brent crude advancing 1.38% to $37.59 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose 1% to $34.92 a barrel.
European equities were all in the black by mid-afternoon, with London's FTSE 100 up 0.58%, while Germany's Dax and France's CAC 40 gained 0.47% and 0.76% respectively. Asian stocks were also comfortably in positive territory, as the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.50% higher, while Hong's Kong Hang Seng and Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.18% and 0.32% respectively.
On the company front, IT provider Hewlett Packard surged more than 10% after posting better-than-expected profit and revenue late in the previous session, while Carmike Cinemas jumped 17% on news that AMC Entertainment Holdings was planning a$1.1bn offer for the company to create the largest US movie-theater operator.
At the other end of the scale, retail giant Staples was in the red after posting disappointing profit and revenue, while H&R Block slumped after reporting a wider-than-expected loss.