(CNSNews.com) - All three major markets reacted cautiously to strong employment numbers but still held onto enough gains to close the week in positive territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47.18 points to reach 9,809.79, up 8.67 points over the past five days. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 5.63 points to 1,970.74, up 38.53 points since last Friday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index retreated 4.84 points to 1,053.21, up 2.50 points for the week.
The final day of the business week got off to a positive start when the Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate had fallen in September to 6.0 percent, while businesses added 126,000 new jobs in October, the third straight month of such growth.
"I think unemployment peaked in June at 6.4 percent and will work its way gradually lower over the next year," Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group, told the Wall Street Journal.
"There will be enough job growth to accommodate not only the people laid off, but also the people coming into the work force for the first time," Hoffman added
However, investors received the news with less enthusiasm than might be expected.
"The employment report validates" investors' expectations for strong growth, "but it was anticipated by the market going back six months," Joseph Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Ryan Beck & Co., told Fox News.
While the markets were generally lower on Friday, McDonald's Corp. rose 1.6 percent after sales in October at restaurants open more than a year posted their highest monthly gain in more than five years.
Also, shares of Pixar Animation Studios gained more than 2 percent after the company posted third-quarter profits that, while less than they were a year ago, nevertheless beat analysts' projections.
Overseas markets ended the week with gains. Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.7 percent, while in Europe, both Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC-40 increased 1.2 percent and Germany's DAX index gained 1.3 percent.
See Related Story:
Job Growth Up, Unemployment Down (Nov. 7, 2003)
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