Stocks hold steady on weak jobs report
The stock market followed one of its most exciting days of the year with a rather dull one Friday. Indexes barely rose following a weak jobs report, which increased hopes that the Federal Reserve would act next week to support the economy.
The gains, while meager, kept major market indexes at their highest levels in more than four years following a massive surge the day before. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.64 points to close at 13,306.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.40 percent to 1,437.92. The Nasdaq composite barely moved, up 0.02 percent at 3,136.42.
The government reported 96,000 jobs were created in the United States last month, fewer than economists had forecast. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but only because more people gave up looking for work.
The flat trading for the major indexes followed big gains Thursday. U.S. stocks hit four-year highs after the European Central Bank announced plans to buy short-term government bonds from struggling countries in the region.