Stocks Cling to the Flat-Line to End the Week of Trading

Michael Teague  |

Stocks ended the day just ever so slightly lower on Friday following a weak jobs report. Additonally, the price of oil surged and equities took a hit by after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin that unequivocally reasserted that country’s support for the Syrian government/regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Standard & Poors 500 index nudged 0.01 percent higher to finish the week at 1,655.17 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1 percent to a total of 14,922.50, and the NASDAQ was 0.03 percent higher at 3,660.01 points.

The Labor Department’s jobs report for the month of August was released earlier in the day, indicating that hiring was slower than expected for the period. The US economy added 169,000 jobs during the month, about 5,000 shy of estimates. Even though the official unemployment rate came down another 0.1 percent, from 7.4 to 7.3, much of this can be attributed to a growing number of people who have simply given up looking for work.

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Meanwhile, at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, President Putin said that his country’s military and logistical support for the embattled Syrian government would continue regardless of a US strike, highlighting the potential futility of the Obama administration’s push for action to punish the regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons two weeks ago.

Stocks were more or less flat on the S&P 500, with semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (MU) posting the day’s biggest gain by percentage, up nearly 5 percent. Meanwhile, Electronic Arts (EA) was the index’s worst performer, shedding over 3 percent by the closing bell.

On the Dow, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was the only stock to move over 1 percent in either direction, ending the day up 1.33 percent to $22.42.

The NASDAQ was helped up by shares for Facebook (FB) that hit an all-time high after a Russian internet firm sold its entire stake, about .5 percent of the company, in the social media site. The stock ended the day just shy of $44. Himax Technologies (HIMX) cooled-off after a big week, ending the day more than 6 percent lower, though the stock is still up nearly 50 percent on the week.

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