Mixed end to upbeat week

Wall Street's early advance on April jobs report dissipates as investors look to Sun Micro's surprise loss, plus rising oil and gold prices.

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By Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks were mixed Friday, following an otherwise upbeat week on Wall Street, as rising oil and gold prices and Sun Microsystems' surprise quarterly loss countered any relief about the April employment report.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) rose 0.4%. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index added 0.3% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost a few points. All three major gauges ended the week with slim gains.

Stocks had risen through the morning on the employment report, but lost steam by midday.

"The employment report got us going in the morning, but we've had a big rally and are perhaps due for a bit of a pullback," said Greg Church, president at Church Capital.

Stocks closed at 4-month highs Thursday, as investors hailed better-than-expected readings on manufacturing and consumer spending, one day after the Fed cut interest rates and hinted the economy seems to have stabilized.

Bets that the worst is over also helped buoy stocks in April, following five down months on Wall Street caused by questions about the depth of the housing and credit market crises.

Questions still remain, Church said, limiting any upside for stocks in the short term.

Better employment picture: Employers cut 20,000 jobs from their payrolls in April, surprising economists who were expecting a bigger deficit of 75,000, according to Briefing.com estimates. Employers cut 81,000 jobs the previous month.

The unemployment rate, generated by a separate survey, fell to 5% from 5.1% in the previous month. Economists thought it would rise to 5.2%, on average. And average hourly earnings, the report's inflation component, rose just 0.1%, versus forecasts for a rise of 0.3%. Earnings rose 0.3% in the previous month. (Full story).

Another report showed factory orders jumped a surprising 1.4% in March, topping forecasts for a rise of 0.2%. Orders fell 1.3% in February.

Fed action: The central bank said Friday that it will join central banks in Europe in building on recent efforts to manage the global credit crisis. The Fed will boost the amount of emergency reserves it makes available to U.S. banks to $150 billion in May, up from $100 billion in April. (Full story).

Earnings news: Sun Microsystems and Chevron were among the companies reporting quarterly results late Thursday and early Friday. With 78% of the S&P 500 results already out, earnings are currently on track to have fallen 15% from a year earlier.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW) reported a surprise quarterly loss late Thursday, with the weak economy causing some customers to put off buying big-ticket items. Sun also forecast flat revenue for the current quarter, and said it could cut up to 2,500 jobs. Shares slipped 22.6%. (Full story).

Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) reported higher quarterly earnings that topped forecasts on higher quarterly revenue that missed expectations. Shares inched higher. (Full story).

In other company news, Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) and Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) talks have reportedly intensified, as the two tech leaders attempt to reach a friendly merger agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported. Earlier in the day, the Journal said that Microsoft's bid for Yahoo could turn hostile.

Investools (SWIM) shares slumped 29% in unusually active New York Stock Exchange trade, after the brokerage and seller of financial education products said that the SEC is probing some of its business practices.

On the upside, the rally in commodity prices gave a boost to some of the underlying stocks, including Aluminum maker Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) and chemical maker DuPont (DD, Fortune 500).

Market breadth was mixed. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners topped losers 9 to 7 on volume of 1.27 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers 4 to 3 on volume of 2.28 billion shares.

Dollar rebounds: The dollar continued its recovery against the euro and yen on the improved economic news and on bets that the Fed will pause its rate-cutting campaign. (Full story).

Bonds slump: Treasury prices continued to retreat as investors pulled money out of the so-called safe-haven investment and poured it into stocks. The decline sent the yield on the benchmark 10-year note to 3.86% from 3.76% late Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Commodities: Oil and gold prices climbed, while gas prices eased modestly.

U.S. light crude oil for June delivery rose $3.80 to settle at $116.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

COMEX gold for June delivery rose $7.10 to $858 an ounce.

Additionally, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas slipped to 3.622 from an all-time record of $3.623 the previous day, AAA reported. Gas prices had hit all-time highs for 17 straight days. (Full story). To top of page

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