* U.S. consumer sentiment drops, hitting stocks
* Non-farm payrolls rise 146,000, exceeding expectations
* Tech shares fall as Apple sells off again
* Dow up 0.6 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq down 0.4 pct
(Updates to close)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 7 The Dow and the S&P 500 advanced
modestly on Friday, though another sell-off in Apple depressed
technology shares and kept the Nasdaq negative, overshadowing a
sharply better-than-expected jobs report.
Trading was light, continuing the week's trend of slight
moves and anemic volume. The S&P 500 ended up a mere 0.1 percent
for the week, following several volatile sessions that
repeatedly pushed it in and out of positive territory. The
benchmark index is just 3.8 percent below the 2012 intraday high
of 1,474.51 reached in mid-September.
Equities opened higher after the non-farm payrolls report,
which showed 146,000 jobs added in November, far more than had
been expected, while the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.7
percent. A sour reading on consumer sentiment caused an erosion
of those gains, though markets rebounded going into the close.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer
sentiment index for early December fell to its lowest level
since August. Sentiment fell on growing concerns over the
"fiscal cliff" debates in Washington, which have been a major
factor preventing broader moves as well.
"We're not as concerned as we were a few months ago because
of improvement like you can see in the employment number, but
there's such a wild card over the cliff," said Bruce McCain,
chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland,
Ohio. "There are such concerns about what could happen that
markets will be overhung until a resolution is more certain."
One of the biggest drags on the Nasdaq was Apple
which fell 2.6 percent to $533.25, extending its losses for the
week to 8.9 percent. This was the worst week for the stock since
May 2010, and with the losses, the stock of the largest U.S.
company by market value is now down 24.4 percent from an
all-time intraday high reached in late September.
In Friday's session, Apple's 50-day moving average fell to
$599.52 - below its 200-day moving average at $601.38. The
weakness drove the S&P information technology sector
lower. The index fell 0.6 percent and was the weakest of the S&P
500's 10 major industry sectors on Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 81.09 points,
or 0.62 percent, to 13,155.13 at the close. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index rose 4.13 points, or 0.29 percent, to
1,418.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 11.23
points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 2,978.04.
For the week, the Nasdaq is down 1.1 percent, hurt largely
by the decline in Apple.
The Dow, which does not count Apple as a component, rose 1
percent for its third straight week of gains. The S&P 500 is
also up for three straight weeks, rising 4.3 percent over that
The equity market has regained most of the ground it lost
following President Barack Obama's re-election as markets turned
their focus to the coming "fiscal cliff." Market response to the
macroeconomic data remained muted as negotiations continued to
command investor attention.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said that talks this week
with President Barack Obama produced no progress, and he renewed
his demand that the president provide a new offer to avert the
series of tax increases and spending cuts that are likely to
hurt economic demand in 2013.
Material shares were the strongest performers of the
day, with that index up 0.8 percent. Freeport-McMoRan Copper &
Gold Co gained 2.9 percent to $31.70 while Dow Chemical
added 2.2 percent to $30.30.
Amarin Corp fell 18.9 percent to $9.69 after the
biopharmaceutical company raised $100 million in financing to
help it launch its heart drug, Vascepa, but disappointed
investors, who had hoped for a sale or partnership.
CombiMatrix Corp shares more than quadrupled,
soaring 336.6 percent to $8.60 after the company said two
studies published in a medical journal favored technology it
uses for prenatal diagnosis of genetic abnormalities over
About 52 percent of shares listed on the New York Stock
Exchange closed higher while slightly more than 50 percent of
Nasdaq-listed stocks closed lower.
Volume was light, with about 5.47 billion shares changing
hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT,
below the daily average so far this year of about 6.48 billion
(Editing by Jan Paschal)