The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet.

New York - US stocks opened higher Friday after the much-watched December US employment report showed the economy added less than half the expected number of jobs.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12.78 (0.08 percent) to 16,457.54.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 2.09 (0.11 percent) at 1,840.22, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 11.22 (0.27

percent) to 4,167.42.

The monthly Labor Department report said the US economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, well below the 197,000 expected by analysts.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008.

The news sent the dollar lower and depressed US Treasury yields, suggesting the market believes the US Federal Reserve may not move as quickly to taper its stimulus program.

The disappointing result “may be easing concerns that the Federal Reserve may get more aggressive with its reduction of asset purchases in the months ahead,” said a market comment from Charles Schwab Corp. - Sapa-AFP