NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets turned higher in early afternoon trading on Friday after some elements of geopolitical uncertainty were removed on reports that Ukraine and pro-Russia forces signed a cease-fire agreement.
Stocks had been trading incrementally lower for most of the session after weak gains in the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for August left the markets divided on whether the Federal Reserve might hike rates next summer. The S&P 500
Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets are doing in midday trading Friday:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 142,000 in August from an upwardly-revised 212,000 in July. The reading was lower than the 225,000 increase economists had expected for August and the smallest gain this year. The labor force participation rate remained low at 62.8% in August, essentially unchanged since April. As expected, the joblessness rate inched down to 6.1% from July's 6.2%.
"The worse-than-expected jobs number makes many believe that an increase in rates may be delayed some," said Schaeffer's Investment Research's senior equity analyst Joe Bell.
While the headlines numbers were at odds with the recent string of strong ISM reports and inspired views that they would give Fed Chair Janet Yellen more latitude in deciding when to raise rates, Voya Investment Management's senior market strategist Karyn Cavanaugh warned that August is a "tricky" month with a lot of seasonal hiring.