Closing Bell: New Records as Stocks Edge Up After Tepid Jobs Report

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Stocks spent the day regaining morning losses and ended Friday's session slightly higher, with both the Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 index setting fresh closing records. A tepid jobs report caused the market to fall early on, but led to speculation that the Federal Reserve might think twice about cutting back on bond purchases in September.

The S&P 500 (^GPSC) gained 2.80 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,709.67. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) added 30.34 points, or 0.19 percent, to 15,658.36, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) rose 13.84 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,689.59.

The government reported that 162,000 jobs were created last month, pushing the unemployment rate down to a 4½-year low of 7.4 percent. The number of jobs added was the lowest since March and well below the 183,000 economists polled by FactSet were expecting.

The Commerce Department reported that consumers increased their spending by 0.5 percent in June, the fastest pace in four months. But income growth slowed to 0.3 percent after a 0.4 percent gain in May.

Investors have been watching economic reports closely and trying to anticipate when the Fed will start easing back on its economic stimulus. The central bank is buying $85 billion in bonds a month to keep long-term interest rates low and encourage borrowing. That easy-money policy has boosted the stock market to record levels: The S&P 500 closed above 1,700 for the first time Thursday.

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Energy stocks fell more than the rest of the market after Chevron (CVX) became the latest big energy company to disappoint investors with lower earnings. Chevron's profit fell 26 percent to $5.4 billion due to lower oil prices and maintenance work at refineries. The stock fell $1.61, or 1.27 percent, to $124.83, the biggest drop of the 30 stocks in the Dow.

Chevron's disappointing earnings followed a pattern set this week by other oil companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM), Shell (RDS.A) and BP (BP).

Among other companies reporting earnings, LinkedIn (LNKD) surged $22.56, or 10.6 percent, to $235.56 after the professional networking company's results topped analyst estimates. LinkedIn had its biggest quarterly membership gain since going public in May 2011.

More Stocks in the News:

  • Viacom (VIA) surged 6.53 percent to $79.78 after the media company said its income rose 20 percent in the latest quarter, boosted by affiliate fee revenue from its cable TV channels and higher advertising earnings. Viacom also increased its stock buyback program to $20 billion from $10 billion.

  • American International Group (AIG), the insurer that was bailed out by the government during the financial crisis, rose 2.7 percent to $48.33 after the company said late Thursday that its profit grew 17 percent in the second quarter. AIG also announced its first dividend since 2008, when it nearly collapsed, and said its board approved a $1 billion stock buyback plan.

  • Shares of Toyota (TM) rose 6.4 percent after the Japanese automaker reported its quarterly net profit nearly doubled from a year ago, helped by a weaker yen. On Thursday, the company reported sales in July jumped 17 percent, part of an industrywide surge. Shares ended at $134.33.

  • Weight Watchers International (WTW) plunged 19.2 percent to $38.00 after reporting late Thursday that its second-quarter net income fell 16 percent as it booked costs related to the early extinguishment of debt. The company also named a new CEO and said recruitment trends are weak.

  • Dell (DELL) rose 5.6 percent to $13.68 after a special committee of the company's board agreed to an increased offer from founder Michael Dell that would add a special dividend.

  • And Facebook (FB) rose 56 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close above its IPO price for the first time, at $38.05.

What to Watch Monday

  • The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for July at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

These major companies report quarterly earnings:

  • E.W. Scripps. Co. (SSP)

  • Tyson Foods (TSN)

-Compiled from staff and wire reports.