Stocks closed mixed today as investor enthusiasm about U.S. military advances in Iraq was tempered by a weak employment report and speculation that Saddam Hussein was still alive. Tech shares sagged on an earnings warning from PeopleSoft.
Analysts said trading was choppy because investors were making short-term bets on the war's prospects. But most investors were choosing to stay on the sidelines, wary of making major purchases before the weekend.
"A conflicting news day is leading to a conflicted market," said Stephen Massocca, president of Pacific Growth Equities. "We have continuing good news coming out of Iraq. But on the other side, we have disappointing employment numbers coupled with other negative economic news."
The Dow Jones industrial average closed 36.77 points higher, or 0.5 percent, at 8277.15. The broader market finished mixed. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 13.07 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1383.51, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 2.40, or 0.3 percent, to 878.85.
For the week, the Dow rose 1.6 percent, the Nasdaq gained 1 percent and the S&P advanced 1.8 percent.
"People are a little more fearful about what might hit over the weekend," Ned Riley, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors, said of the war in Iraq. "There is concern that when we start to ferret out the last of the Republican Guard, we may be confronted with something that is not very tasteful."
PeopleSoft dropped $1.48, or 9 percent, to $15.02, after the software company lowered its quarterly outlook below Wall Street forecasts, citing the weak economy.
Affymetrix fell $9.67, or 34.5 percent, to $18.33, after the maker of gene chips lowered its first-quarter earnings estimate, blaming a slowdown in capital spending.
Gainers included Research in Motion, which rose 42 cents, to $14.88, after the maker of BlackBerry pagers reported a quarterly loss that was smaller than analysts had expected. The company also raised its first-quarter revenue forecast.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 27.76, to 4898.05; the American Stock Exchange index fell 6.36, to 820.00; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 1.94, to 373.28.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 6 to 5 on the NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market. NYSE trading volume fell to 1.23 billion shares, from 1.34 billion on Thursday, and Nasdaq volume totaled 1.34 billion, down from 1.43 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note fell $3.44 per $1,000 invested, and its yield rose to 3.96 percent, from 3.92 percent on Thursday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 119.90 yen, up from 119.49 late Thursday, and a euro bought $1.0734, down from $1.0737.
* Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery settled at $28.62, down 35 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery rose to $325.30 a troy ounce, from $324.90 on Thursday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.