The US stock market opened higher Wednesday as investors lean toward weak payrolls data that may lead to the Federal Reserve making fewer rate hikes in 2022.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 43 points, or 0.12%, to 35,448 at 9.36 a.m. EDT.

The S&P 500 rose 24 points, or 0.53%, to 4,570. The Nasdaq jumped 141 points, or 0.98%, to 14,486.

US private payrolls unexpectedly decreased by 301,000 in January, against the market expectation of an increase of 207,000, according to ADP Research Institute’s national employment report.

Contraction in the labor market suggests the Fed could increase interest rates three times this year at the most, instead of four as the markets have priced in.

While the central bank tries to tame rising inflation that reached its highest level in almost 40 years, it would not want to hurt the labor market by raising rates higher than necessary.

The VIX volatility index, known as the fear index, was down 1.8% to 21.53 but managed to stay above the critical level of 20.

The dollar index lost 0.5% to 95.92 and the yield on 10-year US Treasury notes fell 1.3% to 1.777%.

Precious metals were mixed with gold adding 0.17% to $1,804 per ounce. Silver fell 0.3% to $22.57.

Crude oil gained around 0.5% with Brent crude trading at $89.61 per barrel and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate at $88.69.

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