Stocks Eke Out Gain After Jobs Rollercoaster

Stocks pulled off a modest gain Friday after an early blast from a surprisingly good jobs report and then a subsequent retreat as the dollar gained strength.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 22.75, or 0.2 percent, to close at 10,388.90, after being up more than 100 points in morning trading. The S&P 500 added 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1 percent.

All three indexes finished the week higher, with the Nasdaq the best of the three.

Utilities, telecoms and financials were the week's best performers. Out of 10 key S&P sector indexes, energy was the only decliner.

Boeing had the most positive impact on the Dow this week, up more than 4 percent. Year to date American Express remains the Dow's best performer — the stock has more than doubled.

The big news of the week was that US employers slashed just 11,000 jobs from nonfarm payrolls in November, the smallest decline since the start of the recession in December 2007. The five-digit number caused more than a few doubletakes on Wall Street as many wondered if there was a digit left off that number and it was really 111,000 — more in-line with recent figures.

In addition to the encouraging payrolls reading, the unemployment rate dropped to 10 percent from 10.2 percent.

"We're almost back to normal," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo/Mistubishi UFJ, said after the jobs report. "The economy is lifting at a much greater rate than expected."

The jobs report was a game-changer for the market, some pros say. Click on the video at left.

Adding to the upbeat economic news, factory orders rose an unexpected 0.6 percent in October. Economists had expected the gauge to be unchanged. Plus, September's reading was revised higher.

The dollar had been lower for much of the week, but rebounded on the jobs news.

As the dollar crept higher, it eventually took the steam out of the stock rally — and the recent surge in commodities.

Gold finished the week at $1,169.50 an ounce, after setting a record above $1,200 earlier this week. Oil dropped to $75.47 a barrel.

"I think this is fantastic news," Jamie Cox of Harris Financial Group said on CNBC today. "I really think now you can look toward buying financials and things like that."

Bank of America shares rose after the bank raised almost $19.3 billion in a stock offering late Thursday, which it plans to use to help pay back the $45 billion it owes the government in TARP funds.

That leaves Citigroup in the unfortunate position of being the last big bank tied to the government, the New York Times reported.

Chip makers like Intel helped boost the Nasdaq after an upbeat forecast from TSMC. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange semiconductor index gained 2.1 percent.

Apple skidded 1.6 percent after what some traders said was short campaign against the iPod giant.

On the M&A front, Kraft made a $16.3 billion offer for CadburyFriday, triggering a takeover fight for the British chocolatier.

NBC Universal will manage content across all its platformsafter the GE-Comcast deal is complete, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said on CNBC Friday.

GE shares rose 1.3 percent Friday following the news. Going forward, the stock may also benefit from the cyclical rotation if the Fed starts raising interest rates — a more likely possibility after today's jobs reports.

"Next year's going to be the year of the boring, I'm afraid," Cox said. "GE, I think is a good example."

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

FedEx rose 2.3 percent after the package-delivery giant reported it will raise shipping ratesby an average of 4.9 percent in 2010.

U.S.-traded shares of Toyota Motor fell after the Japanese automaker said its earnings may not recover as fast as expected because of a still-weak U.S. economy and a rising yen.

Shares of Take-Two Interactive tumbled 29 percent after the videogame maker said slow game sales would clip its profit.

Retailers were mixed today amid worries about the shopping season as the holidays are fast approaching.

Big Lots shares surged over 19 percent after the discount store beat earnings expectations and raised its full-year outlook.

JCPenney and Kohl's slipped, while Gap and Bed, Bath & Beyond advanced.

Volume was heavier than usual for the first time in a long time: About 1.57 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Advancers outpaced decliners, roughly 7 to 3.

On Tap for Next Week:

MONDAY: Copenhagen climate summit; Fed's Bernanke, Dudley speak; consumer credit
TUESDAY: CIT bankruptcy hearing; GE capital investor meeting; 3-year auction
WEDNESDAY: BoE meeting; AOL spinoff; weekly mortgage applications; Madoff hearing; weekly crude inventories; 10-year auction
THURSDAY: BoE rate decision; AOL shares begin trading; international trade; weekly jobless claims; 30-year auction; Earnings from Costco
FRIDAY: Government report on retail sales; import/export prices; business inventories; Art Nadel hearing

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