Job creation last month was shockingly weak, but analysts couldn't really explain why –- other than to blame the weather -- which left investors unsure how to react Friday. Many analysts say the numbers are likely to be revised higher next month, and in the end, market reaction was muted.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost ground for a third straight day, declining nearly 8 points, but the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 4, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) rose 18 points.
Target (TGT) lost more than a point after saying the data breach that began on Black Friday was much worse than previously thought. The company now says as many as 70 million customers had personal information stolen. Target also lowered its fourth quarter outlook, partly because sales slumped after the data breach was first revealed.
Sears (SHLD) tumbled by around 13.5 percent. It expects a big quarterly loss as sales fell during the holiday shopping season.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Several smaller, specialty retailers also fell: Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) slid 16 percent, Five Below (FIVE) fell 7 percent, Shoe Carnival (SCVL) lost 5 percent, and Conn's (CONN) lost 2 percent. But Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) jumped 12 percent. It raised its earnings forecast as sales were not as bad as expected.
Elsewhere, Alcoa (AA) fell about 5.5 percent. It's not quite the economic bellwether it used to be, but the aluminum giant still matters, and its net came in a bit shy of expectations.
YRC Worldwide (YRCW) tumbled 13 percent after workers rejected a contract offer. That has raised fears the trucking company could be forced into bankruptcy.
On the upside, the weak jobs report could keep mortgage rates from rising, and that boosted housing stocks. KB Homes (KBH) rose 3 percent, William Lyons (WLH) up 4 percent, and Lennar (LEN) was up 2 percent.
And on Thursday we reported that shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals nearly quadrupled in price on news of a positive clinical study for its liver drug. Well, it soared another 61 percent Friday. The stock has gone from about $70 a share on Wednesday to close the week at $444 a share.
What to Watch Monday:
The Treasury Department releases the federal budget for December at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.