Stocks hold steady on weak jobs report

Trader Richard Scardino, center, works on the floor

Trader Richard Scardino, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday. Stocks opened mixed on Wall Street after news that the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in August. (Sept. 7, 2012) (Credit: AP )

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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.

Tech bellwether Intel dealt a blow to the market early in the day by cutting its revenue outlook because of weak demand for its semiconductors. Intel fell 3.61 percent, to $24.19.

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.

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