Wall Street closed narrowly mixed Thursday as investors traded cautiously ahead of today's Labor Department reading on December employment...
NEW YORK — Wall Street closed narrowly mixed Thursday as investors traded cautiously ahead of today’s Labor Department reading on December employment. Inflation jitters remained high as oil prices set a trading record above $100.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 12.76 to 13,056.72. Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, edged up 15 cents to close at $35.37 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, gained 36 cents to $86.98.
Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was unchanged at 1,447.17, and the Nasdaq composite index slipped 6.95 to 2,602.68.
Investors who sent stocks skidding Wednesday amid economic concerns and rising oil prices initially took some solace in findings released Thursday by payroll company Automatic Data Processing. The ADP report said the economy added 40,000 private-sector jobs last month, above the 30,000 predicted by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
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Also Thursday, the Labor Department said the number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits fell last week. But investors were mindful that these weekly readings can be volatile and the latest reflected unusual factors related to the Christmas holiday.
For weeks, Wall Street has been holding out for today’s December jobs snapshot. The Labor Department report should indicate whether the solid job market that existed last year can continue into 2008.
Meanwhile, oil set a trading record of $100.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after government figures showed a larger-than-expected decline in crude-oil inventories. Analysts said more expensive oil is stirring some concerns about rising prices in general and whether the Federal Reserve would still have room to lower interest rates.