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    By Anora Mahmudova and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch. Economy added 295,000 jobs in February; unemployment rate at 5.5%. NEW YORK-- U.S. stocks sold off on Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report sent the dollar and 10- year Treasury yields rising, indicating that the market believes a rate hike will occur sooner rather than later.

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    By Myra P. Saefong and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch, Eric Yep. SAN FRANCISCO-- Crude-oil futures fell Friday, extending losses from the previous session as a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report sent the dollar higher. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for delivery in April traded at $50.28 barrel, down 48 cents, or 0.9%.

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    Unemployment rate falls to 5.5% from 5.7%, near-seven-year low. WASHINGTON-- The U.S. economy churned out a robust 295,000 jobs in February, reducing the nation's unemployment rate to the lowest level in almost seven years and extending the best stretch of job creation since the mid-1990s. The latest employment report offers more proof the economy is likely to continue to chug along in the wake of the biggest spurt of hiring since the Clinton era.

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    Weary Wisconsin lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that stops private sector workers from being required to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment and sent it to Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is expected to sign it on Monday.

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    'Patient' will dropped in March, setting stage for midyear move. WASHINGTON-- The strong payroll data for February increases the chances that the Federal Reserve drops the word "patient" from its forward guidance later this month, setting the stage for a rate hike in June or September, analysts said. "My sense is this report keeps them on track to raise rates in the middle of the year," said Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York.

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    WASHINGTON-- The good news is the percentage of Americans in the workforce hasn't gotten worse after about six years of declines. The bad news is that it's not really get any better. In February, the participation rate slipped a tenth of a percentage point to 62.8%.

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    Average hourly earnings edged up 0.1%, or 3 cents, to $24.78, slowing the year-on-year change to 2% from 2.1%. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast 0.2% growth. Average weekly earnings also rose 0.1%, to $857.39, which represents 2.6% growth.

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    The U.S. created a robust 295,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5% from 5.7%, but wage growth remained sluggish and more people dropped out of the labor force, the government said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 238,000 nonfarm jobs. Average hourly wages rose 3 cents to $24.78, but the 12- month increase was a lackluster 2%.

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    U.S. employment growth accelerated in February and the jobless rate fell to a more than 6-1/2 year low of 5.5 percent, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. Nonfarm payrolls rose 295,000 last month after rising 239,000 in January, the Labor Department said on Friday.

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    Benchmark Brent oil gave back some of its early gains while U.S. crude turned negative on Friday after the dollar jumped on strong U.S. jobs data for February, raising fears of a sooner-than-expected rate hike in the world's largest economy. Brent's front-month contract was up 41 cents at $60.89 a barrel by 8:38 a.m. EST, after rising as high as $61.30 earlier.

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    The winter weather didn't cool the job market in February. The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February, which crushed expectations. February's job growth shows how far the economy has come in a year. That's the lowest unemployment rate since May 2008 -- before the financial crisis.

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    The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in January after hitting a two-year high in December. The nation's trade gap narrowed 8.4% to $41.8 billion from revised $45.6 billion in December, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a total deficit of $40.6 billion.

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    U.S. employment accelerated in February and the jobless rate fell to 5.5 percent, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. Nonfarm payrolls rose 295,000 last month after downwardly revised 239,000 gain in January, the Labor Department said on Friday.

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    WASHINGTON-- Federal government offices are opening with a two-hour delay Friday because of winter weather. As a result, the government will cancel the planned media release of economic data. Instead, the Labor Department's February jobs report and the Commerce Department's January trade data will be released on agency websites at 8:30 a.m. EST.

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    Talk is cheap, or so they say. In Turkey's case, however, the apparently relentless criticism of the central bank by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could end up being expensive--for the country and for investors. The Central Bank of Turkey under Gov.

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    After a record-breaking start to the week for markets, it's been reasonably quiet. Here are the four things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York: 1. Jobs report: The Labor Department is posting its monthly jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict that 235,000 jobs were created in February, down from 257,000 the month before.

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    NEW YORK-- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams on Thursday expressed confidence that robust economic growth and healthy job gains would push inflation up over time. Speaking in Honolulu, the official reiterated that this positive outlook for the economy means that the Fed is getting closer to the day when it can raise short-term interest rates. Such an action would amount to reducing the amount of stimulus the central bank is providing, rather than a...