U.S. stocks quiet Friday after stronger than expected jobs reports

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

New York, NY, United States (AHN) – The U.S. economy gained 200,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday. But the stronger than expected report did little to goose stocks.

Just after the opening bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 51 points, the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was down 4 points and the NASDAQ dropped about 5 points.

Stocks entered the last day of the first week of the New Year coming off a mixed close on Thursday. Investors continue to be worried about, and are closely watching, developments in Europe and the ongoing sovereign debt crisis plaguing the region.

European stocks were up in mid-day trading, and Asian markets ended the day mixed.

Gold futures for February delivery advanced $ 3.60 to $ 1,623.70 an ounce. Oil gained 38 cents to $ 102.19 a barrel.

In U.S. corporate news, Dow component Alcoa fell more than 2 percent after the aluminum producer said it is cutting its global smelting capacity 12 percent.

Friday’s close is an important one for market watchers. Many traders, analysts and investors believe the old adage that as the first week of the New Year goes, so goes the month and January, and so goes the market.

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