Despite Job Report, Fall Rally Concludes

Associated Press
Saturday, December 3, 2005

NEW YORK, Dec. 2 -- Wall Street's five-week rally ended Friday even though the government issued a positive employment report.

The Labor Department's announcement that U.S. employers added 215,000 jobs in November, the biggest gain since July, exceeded forecasts of a 210,000-job increase.

While the job growth bolstered a brightening economic landscape, some analysts are beginning to fear that the Federal Reserve may push interest rates higher now.

Upbeat personal spending data sparked a rally Thursday and sent the Dow Jones industrial average up 106 points.

At the close of trading, the Dow lost 35.06, or 0.32 percent, to 10,877.51.

Broader stock indicators were higher. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index added 0.41, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1265.08, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.20, or 0.27 percent, to 2,273.37, a four-year high.

Bond prices steadied after three days of losses, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note flat at 4.52 percent from late Thursday.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices lingered above $500 an ounce.

Wall Street paused from its November rally despite support from government reports showing that the economy withstood a sharp increase in energy prices after the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

For the week, the Dow slipped 0.54 percent and the S&P 500 was off 0.25 percent, while the Nasdaq gained 0.46 percent.

Gains since mid-October allowed the S&P 500 to wipe out its 2005 loss. The index now is up 4.4 percent for the year.

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