U.S. stocks closed mixed Friday in thin, choppy trading as profit taking bit into earlier gains fueled by the May employment report. Investors' initial enthusiasm toward a much-smaller-than-expected 345,000 drop in non-farm payrolls has been curbed somewhat by a larger-than-expected spike in the jobless rate to 9.4%, from 8.9%.
Strength in Dow-listed issues and miners helped shore up the overall market.
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average finished higher by 12.89 points, or 0.15%, at 8,763.13. The broad S&P 500 index fell 2.37 points, or 0.25%, to 940.09. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index shed 0.60 points, or 0.03%, to 1,849.42.
Treasuries plunged, with the yield on the 10-year note moving up to 3.84%. The dollar index surged. Gold futures were off. Oil futures were lower after having pushed above $70 per barrel in early trading.
The market's tentative advance Friday follows recent gains stoked by better-than-expected reports on manufacturing, production and other key areas of the economy.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls dropped 345,000, much better than expected (economists' median forecast called for a 500,000 drop and the so-called market "whisper" number indicated a 475,000 decline) in May. In addition, April was revised up to -504,000 from -539,000 previously and March was revised up to -652,000 from -699,000. However, the jobless rate spiked to 9.4% (median 9.2%) from 8.9%. The average workweek dipped to 33.1 hours (median 33.2), vs. 33.2 hours in April. And hourly earnings rose a modest 0.1% (median 0.2%), matching April's gain.
"The improvement in the headline number supports recent rotation into riskier assets -- reinforcing expectations that the hefty declines of Q4 and Q1 are now diminishing, even as the economy continues to contract," says Action Economics.
Mining stocks grabbed the spotlight Friday after Rio Tinto (RTP) scrapped a planned $19.5 billion deal with Chinalco and opted instead to raise $15.2 billion in a share sale and form a joint venture with rival BHP Billiton (BHP) to cut its debts.
In markets elsewhere Friday, London, Paris, Frankfurt stocks were sharply higher. Tokyo stocks rose 1.02% and Hong Kong gained 0.96%, while Shanghai stocks fell 0.48%.