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Unemployment Rate Creeps Up - but With Possible Silver Lining

Morning Money Memo…

ABC News' Richard Davies and John Kapetaneas report:

For the sixth straight month, U.S. employers added more than 200,000 new jobs.

The July employment report from The Labor Department was slightly weaker than expected, but new job totals for both May and June were revised higher.

The U.S. employment rate rose to 6.2 percent "but this disappointment needs to be looked at in the context of more people moving into the labor market, which is often an encouraging sign," says Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, a financial information firm.

Average job gains over the past six months reached 244,000 in July, the best average in eight years. Manufacturing and construction added more jobs than in previous months.

"There is clearly a high degree of slack left in the labor market, however, as average employee earnings rose just 2.0 percent on a year ago," said Williamson.

Hourly wages were unchanged last month. Long-term unemployment remained well above average while many discouraged workers laid off during the recession have not returned to the labor market.

World Markets Appear Sluggish

The bull market is "bearing" it's ugly teeth, as markets worldwide dropped this morning.

Following Thursday's 317-point drop in the Dow and news of an Argentinean default, traders from Milan to Moscow have responded by trading lower across the board. European and Asian markets are down, with German and Italian markets falling more than 100 points each. Markets in Hong Kong and India also dropped significantly. Gold is up slightly to 1,285 per ounce.

Dow futures, which were in the green early this morning, fell dramatically more than 100 points, then rebounded somewhat.

New Boss at Target

Target is looking for a fresh start, announcing Thursday that former Pepsi executive Brian Cornell will serve as the company's next CEO. Cornell will succeed longtime Target executive Gregg Steinhafel, who left the company in May amid the massive data breach that affected more than 100 million customers. Cornell will inherit a laundry list of challenges, not the least of which is the company's rebound following the breach, as well as improving declining traffic at Target stores.

Shunning Cereal?

Consumers are shunning their sweet tooth, at least when it comes to their morning breakfast options. Cereal maker Kellogg's reported earnings fell 16 percent in the second quarter, with North American sales falling 3.7 percent. The Wall Street Journal reported that consumers are increasingly turning away from breakfast cereals in favor of higher protein options, such as Greek yogurt. Kellogg's stock dropped 6 percent during Thursday's trading day.

High Hopes for 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Marvel is looking to spice up the summer box office slump with the release of this weekend's "Guardians of the Galaxy." The space-based odyssey had a $170 million budget and seems to have little competition. Analysts expect it to pull in a cool $75 million this weekend, which would bode well for a struggling summer box office that has seen its ticket sales drop 20 percent from last year, according to Box Office Mojo. The James Brown biopic "Get On Up" also comes out today, and is expected to pull in around $15 million.

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