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Morning Market Roundup: Lousy Jobs Data, Fed Response, Russia's Energy Pledge


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Unemployment: As noted earlier on TheBlaze, hiring has slowed and unemployment has fallen to 8.1 percent as more Americans have either retired from or given up on the workforce.

Stocks are edging between small gains and losses in early trading on Wall Street Friday following news the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in August.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down one point at 13,291 after the first hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up three at 1,436 and the Nasdaq was up less than a point at 3,136.

Fed Action: On the heels of today’s disappointing jobs report, some economists expect a new bond-buying program to be announced.

Others aren't so sure. Most do think the Fed will unveil something, after Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the Fed will do more to help the economy.

But they don't see a bold move. Not yet, anyway.

Sal Guatieri of BMO Capital Markets thinks the most likely Fed step will be to extend its timetable for keeping short-term rates at record lows. Currently, the Fed plans to keep rates there until at least late 2014. Guatieri said he thinks that target will be extended to mid-2015.

But by late December or early next year, Guatieri says the Fed could begin more bond buying, perhaps focused on lowering mortgage rates.

Oil: The price of oil is falling after the government reported the U.S. added fewer jobs than expected last month.

Benchmark crude is down 59 cents to $94.94 around 10 a.m. Eastern time Friday. Before the jobs report, oil was gaining as traders remained confident that the European Central Bank's latest bond-buying plan will go a long way to resolving Europe's debt crisis.

Russia: President Vladimir Putin promised Asia and Pacific leaders meeting in the seaport of Vladivostok on Friday that they could count on Russia to be a reliable energy supplier and provide a bridge to Europe that can help revitalize regional trade.

Russia is boosting its exports of oil and gas to Asia after years of focusing almost entirely on supplying Europe. Moscow also has ambitious plans to develop its railroads, roads, seaports and airports in the east of the country with the aim of providing a reliable transportation link between Asia and Europe.

"The first and main thing we're going to do is develop transport infrastructure," Putin told regional business leaders.

He played up Russia's common economic space with neighbors Kazakhstan and Belarus as opening "a direct route to Europe for business in the Pacific region."

Faltering vital signs in China and elsewhere make pushing ahead with more and freer trade an urgent priority for the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, whose leaders are gathered in the Russian Far East port of Vladivostok for their annual summit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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