Stocks Gain for Week, Earnings Eyed

U.S. stocks finished mixed on Friday, but posted weekly gains, as enthusiasm over a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate gave way to caution ahead of the beginning of the quarterly earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34.79 points, or 0.26%, to 13,610.15, and posted a weekly gain of 1.3%. The S&P 500 index ended nearly unchanged, slipping 0.47 point to 1,460.93, but it gained 1.4% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.27 points, or 0.42%, to 3,136.19, gained 0.6% for the week.

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped sharply to 7.8 percent in September, its lowest level since the month President Obama took office, the Labor Department said Friday.

The federal government logged a $1.1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2012 — marking the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar shortfalls. As a share of the economy, the deficit fell to roughly 7%, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates released Friday. That’s down from 8.7% in 2011, and well below the bruising 10.1% recorded in 2009 during the depth of the economic downturn.

Oil futures settled at their lowest in a week after a boost from the U.S. jobs report was short-lived without overt geopolitical worries to support prices. Oil for November delivery fell $1.83, or 2%, to $89.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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