US STOCKS-Wall St rises after strong jobs data
* 255,000 jobs added in July vs est. 180,000
* Unemployment rate unchanged at 4.9 pct
* Bristol-Myers drops after drug fails trial, rival Merck soars
* Indexes up: Dow 0.74 pct, S&P 0.54 pct, Nasdaq 0.68 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Aug 5 (Reuters) - Wall Street opened higher on Friday as robust labor market data boosted optimism about the strength of the U.S. economy.
The report by the U.S. Labor Department showed that nonfarm payrolls rose by 255,000 in July. Economists had expected a rise of 180,000.
The report also showed that the unemployment rate was flat at 4.9 percent, staying below the 5 percent mark associated with full employment. Average hourly wages rose by 8 cents.
"(The data) cements the view that the economy is improving despite the recent negative news from GDP," said Aaron Kohli, interest rate strategist at BMO Capital Markets in New York. Continuación...