Stocks eked out a gain Friday after a rocky session as investors juggled a disappointing jobs report and some analyst upgrades.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.46, or 0.2 percent, to close at 10,023.42. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each gained about 0.3 percent.
The gains for the week were far more impressive: All three indexes are up at least 3.2 percent from where they ended last week, snapping a two-week losing streak. And the CBOE volatility index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, dropped more than 20 percent, finishing the week below 25.
The Labor Department said employers cut 190,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent, its highest level in more than 26 years. Economists had expected to see a job loss of 175,000 and unemployment rate of 9.9 percent.
The move above 10 percent on unemployment initially rattled the market but David Joy, chief market strategist at RiverSource Investors, said he doesn't see it as a setback for the recovery.
"I read it as a relatively constructive number, because the trend continues to improve. The headline number of course will keep consumer confidence under pressure, but I'm not that hopeful that the consumer is going to make a big contribution to this recovery anyway," he said on CNBC this morning. "I do think we're in the early stages of a global recovery, but I think it's going to be led by the business community, not by the consumer, and so this does nothing to change that point of view."
Investors were also focused on some analyst upgrades in the market.
General Electric was the biggest gainer on the Dow today — and for the week — after two firms, Oppenheimer and Bernstein, raised their ratings on the stock to "outperform,"saying they see signs of major divestitures coming. GE is the parent of CNBC.
Selling off businesses could generate as much as $25 billion to $30 billion in revenue — almost one-fifth of the company — analysts said.
"Much of the bet on GE is a bet on the company's ability to reinvest proceeds in enterprises that add value for shareholders," Winoker wrote in a note to clients.
Insurers Travelers and XL Capital got a boost after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stocks to "buy" from "neutral."
Amazon was among the top gainers in the Nasdaq 100, up 4.6 percent, after Bernstein upgraded the online retailer to "outperform" from "market perform."
Macy's rose 6.4 percent after JPMorgan raised its rating on the stock to "overweight" from "neutral."
Yesterday's retail-sales reports were largely disappointing, as more than half of the stores missed their targets, but analysts noted signs that discretionary spending is making a comeback.
"This time around the higher end consumer is coming back last," Kimberly Greenberger, an analyst at Citigroup, said on CNBC. "We think there's a lag of around six months between activity and the stock market and what drives spending among higher end households. That does coincide here with a very robust holiday, so we're encouraged." (Watch the video.)
Greenberger said she likes Tiffany, Urban Outfitters and Limited Brands.
(After the Fed and the jobs report, what are the key things to watch and trade for next week? Click on the video annd left.)
On the earnings front, AIG badly missed analyst estimates, posting a profit of 68 cents a share against expectations of $1.98. Its shares fell about 10 percent.
Starbucks shares jumped 7.2 percent after the barista beat earnings expectations.
Nvidia rallied 7.3 percent as the chip maker also beat consensus.
State Street fell 3.2 percent after the bank said it set aside an additional $250 million to cover losses from investors who lost money on risky mortgages.
U.S. stocks logged their best day since July on Thursday, a session sandwiched in between the Wednesday conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and today's jobs report.
In the day's other economic news: Wholesale inventories fell 0.9 percent in September, roughly in-line with expectations. And consumer borrowing fell by $14.8 billionin September.
Volume was light today, with about 1.1 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Advancers outpaced decliners, roughly 15 to 14.
For the week, GE, American Express and United Technologies were the Dow's biggest gainers.
All ten key S&P sectors finshed the week higher, led by industrials, materials and consumer discretionary.
Burlington Northern led the industrial charge, up 29 percent for the week, after billionaire Warren Buffett agreed to buy the nation's second-largest railrod for $34 billion.
Year to date, American Express remains the top performer on the Dow, having doubled.
Oil finished the week at $77.43 a barrel. Gold was at $1,095.70 a troy ounce. And the dollar gained against most major currencies.
MONDAY: Deadline for Kraft-Cadbury takeover bid; Banks' deadline for capital-raising plans; 20th anniversary of Berlin wall coming down; Three-year note auction; Earnings from Liberty Media, Electronic Arts
TUESDAY: Obama in Asia; Geithner in Japan; Foreclosure-prevention summit; Fed's Lockhart, Yellen & Fisher speak; 10-year auction
WEDNESDAY: Veterans' Day (offices, bond market closed); Bill Gates speaks; Forbes most powerful people list; weekly mortgage applications; Earnings from Macy's, Applied Materials
THURSDAY: FDA meeting on Internet advertising starts; Buffett/Gates/CNBC Town Hall meeting; Geithner at APEC meeting in Singapore; weekly jobless claims; weekly crude inventories; Treasury budget; Earnings fro mWal-Mart, Disney
FRIDAY: NY Fed conference on financial intermediation; international trade; import/export prices; consumer sentiment; Nicholas Cosmo court appearance; Fed's Evans speaks; Earnings from JCPenney, Abercrombie
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