Wall Street books gains for the week

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK(CNNMoney) -- Stocks rose near the end of choppy session Friday, ending the week with gains of more than 2%, as investors looked past a muddy report on the U.S. job market.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) rose 30 points, or 0.2%, to close at 12,092. The S&P 500 (SPX) gained nearly 4 points, or 0.3%, to end at 13,11. The Nasdaq (COMP) added 15 points, or 0.5%, to 2,769.

For the week, the Dow gained nearly 2.3%, while the S&P 500 was up 2.7%. The Nasdaq added better than 3% over the last five trading days.

Stocks made a late-session advance after bouncing between small gains and losses for most of the day following mixed signals from the government's all-important jobs report.

The Labor Department said employers added 36,000 jobs in January, which fell far short of expectations. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 9% -- down from 9.4% the month before.

Economists had forecast a gain of 149,000 jobs in January, but many analysts said severe winter weather hindered hiring last month.

"There's a bit of confusion about what these numbers actually mean," said Brian Gendreau, market strategist at Financial Network. "And it comes in the context of many reports indicating a strengthening economy and job market."

Friday's jobs data came after encouraging reports on private sector payrolls and weekly jobless claims earlier this week. And monthly sales figures from retailers and automakers came in better than expected.

A robust reading on the manufacturing sector on Tuesday sent stocks soaring above two key psychological barriers: 12,000 on the Dow and 1,300 on the S&P 500.

In addition, quarterly reports from a range of big U.S. companies have shown continued gains in earnings and surprisingly strong revenue growth.

After 11 days of violent turmoil in Egypt, traders said the market has priced in the geopolitical risk associated with the anti-government protests there.

"To the extent it doesn't deteriorate significantly, I think investors have come to the conclusion that Egypt is not an immediate concern," said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller, Tabak and Co.

Stocks ended higher Thursday, as investors digested comments about the economy from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke -- who said a weak job market continues to weigh on the recovery.

Companies: Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) slipped nearly 2% after allegations late Thursday that the investment bank was warned about Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme years prior to its collapse, but did nothing to stop it.

Early Friday, Aetna (AET, Fortune 500) also reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and boosted its dividend, sending shares of the company 12% higher.

Shares of JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU) surged 23%, after the communications equipment maker logged quarterly earnings late Thursday that widely beat expectations.

Food company Tyson (TSN, Fortune 500) reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that topped expectations. Shares were up 6% in mid-day trading.

After the market close Thursday, Las Vegas Sands (LVS, Fortune 500) posted disappointing earnings, sending shares of the casino company 8% lower. Other casino stocks, including Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and MGM Resorts International (MGM, Fortune 500), shared the pain. Shares of Wynn fell 2%, while MGM shares slumped 1.4%.

World markets: European stocks closed higher. Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.2%, the DAX in Germany ticked up 0.3% and France's CAC 40 rose 0.2%.

Japan's Nikkei rallied 1.1%. Other Asian markets, including Shanghai and Hong Kong, remained closed for the lunar new year holiday.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for March delivery fell $1.62 to $88.88 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery was down $3.30 to $1,349.70 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 3.58%, from 3.54% late Thursday. To top of page

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