Stocks Closed Mostly Lower Friday, Gain for Week

U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Friday, despite the U.S. job market is improving, but registered more than 1% gains for the week, led by the Nasdaq Composite. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55.78 points, or 0.45%, to 12,359.92 but added 1.2% for the week. The S&P 500 slid 3.25 points, or 0.25%, to 1,277.81 and advanced 1.6% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite tipped up 4.36 points, or 0.16%, to 2,674.22 Friday. It jumped 2.7% for the week.

Most of the job growth in 2011 was concentrated in industries that tend to pay low wages and skimpy benefits. But toward the end of the year, and especially in December, hiring became broader-based and included more higher-paying jobs.

Federal Reserve officials are nearing agreement on adopting an inflation goal as Chairman Ben S. Bernanke extends his push for improving transparency and communications with the public.

No. 1 U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co. on Friday reported disappointing December holiday sales after holiday traffic slowed and didn’t pick until the last week before Christmas. Comparable sales, or sales at stores, call centers and websites operating for at least 14 months, declined 1.2% in the five weeks ended Dec. 31, missing the 0.1% gain estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. The results include a 0.4% decline in the U.S. and a 4.3% drop internationally. Total sales were flat at $8.4 billion.

As the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off next week, much of the attention will go toward the chips and software expected to power the next generation of mobile devices, including phones, tablets and laptops.

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