This set of jobs numbers arrives after a substantial slowdown in jobs growth reported last Friday and consecutive increases in jobless claims in the last few weeks.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the price index for U.S. imports fell 0.5% in March, following increases of 0.6% in February and 0.5% in January led by a downturn in fuel prices, easing inflation concerns and stoking confidence that Federal Reserve policymakers still have more room to maneuver on stimulus.

The FTSE 100 in the U.K. was up 0.36% and the DAX in Germany was rising 0.55%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 1.96% Thursday, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index settled up 0.3%.

Yum! Brands ( YUM) was down 2.34% to $65.20 after the fast-food restaurant operator, whose brands include KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, said Wednesday that same-store sales in China fell 13% in March from a year ago as the bird flu outbreak in the country hurts sales.

Microsoft ( MSFT) is developing a new lineup of its Surface tablets, including a 7-inch version expected to go into mass production later this year, people familiar with the company's plans told The Wall Street Journal. Shares were off 3.8% to $29.13 in premarket trading.

T-Mobile USA raised its bid for MetroPCS ( PCS) in what it called its "best and final offer." MetroPCS shares were down 1.04% to $11.44.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 3/32, diluting the yield to 1.798%. The dollar was down 0.31% to $ 82.28 according to the U.S. dollar index.

May crude oil futures were shedding 10 cents to $94.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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