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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks opened mostly higher Wednesday, shrugging off disappointing employment data after a mixed batch of earnings that boosted Google parent Alphabet and punished PayPal.

Private US businesses shed 301,000 jobs last month as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 disrupted activity, payroll services firm ADP said in a report that was worse than expected and raised worries about Friday's government labor report.

Meanwhile, a deluge of earnings lifted Alphabet 7.1 percent as the tech giant reported annual profits of $76 billion.

But other companies were punished after earnings results came out, especially PayPal, which dropped nearly 25 percent.

US stocks mostly negative at start of February

About 45 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 percent at 35,367.39.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 4,563.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.6 percent to 14,424.80.

After falling most of January, stocks have risen the last three days in a dynamic attributed in part to bargain hunting.

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