Stocks end mixed after uneven data
NEW YORK » Wall Street capped a shortened trading week with a mixed finish yesterday after some uneven economic data: news of a contraction in the nation's services sector and a tame reading on employment. But stocks still had their third dismal week in a row, with the major indexes again posting losses as worries about rising oil prices and the fallout from the credit crisis dogged the market.
The Institute for Supply Management said its index of service sector activity fell to 48.2 from 51.7 in May; the reading touched off more misgivings about the well-being of the economy.
The look at the service sector followed a largely as-expected report from the U.S. Labor Department, which said the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent last month.
The government also reported that 62,000 jobs were lost in June, but that number was close to economists' forecasts.
The jobs report did appear to assuage some worries that the snapshot of the labor market would be more grim.
Christopher Molumphy, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton fixed income group, said the employment figures don't point to a labor market in distress. "We are not seeing data that would be consistent with recessionary conditions," he said.
Molumphy also said the session's somewhat skewed trading was typical of a shortened session ahead of a holiday. Trading ended three hours early at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and the market is closed today for the Fourth of July.
"We try not to overanalyze some of the moves because I think you can easily do that," he said.
The Dow rose 73.03, or 0.65 percent, to 11,288.54.
Broader stock indicators ended mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.38, or 0.11 percent, to 1,262.90, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 6.08, or 0.27 percent, to 2,245.38.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 3.19 billion shares.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 6.56, or 0.98 percent, to 665.78.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.98 percent from 3.96 percent late Wednesday.
The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.
Oil prices dominated trading during the week as they have for months. Light, sweet crude settled up $1.72 at a record $145.29 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after trading as high as $145.85 -- also a new record.
Investors will be looking for fresh insights next week with the arrival of corporate quarterly numbers. Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc., a component of the Dow industrials, is expected to unofficially start earnings season with a report due Tuesday. Monthly sales reports are also due from retailers.