Stocks open higher on Merkel talk, jobs data

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening higher after a report showed improvement in the U.S. job market and Germany’s chancellor talked tough about fiscal discipline in the European Union.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,111 early Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10, or 0.8 percent, to 1,255. The Nasdaq composite rose 23, or 0.9 percent, to 2,649.

The government said the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent last month, the lowest in 2½ years. Economists had expected the rate to stay at 9 percent.

Investors were encouraged by a speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said the 17 nations that use the euro currency must quickly restore market confidence by making financial controls stricter. Stocks in Germany are up 1.3 percent.