Dec. 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM ET
The Dow and S&P 500 closed higher for the day and week following an upbeat government jobs report and amid ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations, while the Nasdaq finished in the red, dragged by Apple's sharp decline.
Apple slumped more than 2 percent, forming a "death cross," with the 50-day moving average falling below the 200 day moving average. Technicians usually see the sign as a cue to sell.
The tech giant's stock is on pace to logging its worst week since July 2010. Still, shares are up more than 30 percent for the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 81.09 points, or 0.62 percent, to close at 13155.13, logging a three-day rally. JPMorgan and Bank of America led the blue-chip gainers, while Microsoft led the laggards.
The S&P 500 gained 4.13 points, or 0.29 percent, to finish at 1,418.07. The Nasdaq slipped 11.23 points, or 0.38 percent, to end at 2,978.04. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slipped below 16.
For the week, the Dow rallied 0.99 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.13 percent, while the Nasdaq fell 1.07 percent. Bank of America was the best weekly performer on the Dow, while AT&T slid.
Among the key S&P sectors, financials and industrials gained, while materials and techs lagged.
In a press conference, Speaker John Boehner said that he has no progress to report on the budget negotiations and added President Obama is "slow-walking" walking the economy toward the edge of the fiscal cliff. However, stocks largely shrugged off his comments.
On the economic front, the monthly non-farm payrolls rose by a surprising 146,000, with the unemployment falling sharply to 7.7 in November, according to the Labor Department. The report blew past expectations for a gain of 93,000, according to a Reuters poll.
However, participation rate fell to 63.6 percent, falling further from 30-year lows. And October's employment gains were also lowered through revisions. The U.S. added 171,000 jobs in October.
"There's a lot of skepticism regarding this report—the Labor Department said there was no impact from Sandy, but the report states that 369,000 people were unable to work because of the storm and that gives people pause," said John Canally, Investment Strategist and Economist for LPL Financial. "The market's largely ignoring this, but we'll learn a lot more from this in two weeks when the BLS state unemployment report is released."
Meanwhile, the consumer sentiment index tumbled to 74.5 from 82.7 in a preliminary December, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey, amid worries over the potential for higher taxes. Economists in a Reuters survey expected a reading of 82.4.
Netflix traded higher even after the online movie-streaming company disclosed that CEO Reed Hastings received a Wells Notice from the SEC related to a blog post he wrote on Facebook in July. Meanwhile, Hastings said he is optimistic the action can be "cleared up quickly."
Jefferies announced it is moving its first-quarter dividend payment to December, while D.R. Horton accelerated all of its 2013 dividend payments into 2012. Late Thursday, publishing company McGraw-Hill and hospital operator HCA became the latest companies to declare special dividends. So far, more than 170 companies have accelerated or announced special dividends in the fourth quarter.
McDonald's edged higher after Janney raised its rating on the fast-food giant to "buy" from "neutral."
Meanwhile, Yum Brands slipped after RBC cut its price target on the parent company of Taco Bell and KFC to $77 from $82.
Semiconductor designer LSI announced it will switch to the Nasdaq OMX's exchange from the NYSE, effective Dec. 19. The company's ticker symbol will remain unchanged.
European shares finished narrowly mixed as gains were limited after Germany's central bank cut its growth outlook for the economy next year and amid worries about political uncertainty in Italy.
Consumer credit rose $14.2 billion in October, according to the Federal Reserve, topping expectations for a gain of $10 billion.
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