The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.54 percent on Friday to close at 11,444.61 after a roller-coaster day on the markets, ending the week with steep losses.
The broader S&P 500 was down 0.06 percent to 1,199.38, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.94 percent to 2,532.41.Stocks experienced wild swings after a better-than-expected US jobs report, hints of progress in Europe's debt crisis and a rumor -- which ultimately did not bear fruit -- that the Standard & Poor's ratings agency would downgrade the United States's sovereign debt rating.
Early Friday, the US Labor Department reported that the country's economy generated 117,000 jobs in July, cutting the official unemployment rate down a notch to 9.1 percent.
Economists had forecast only a net 84,000 jobs generated.The mildly positive surprise on jobs came despite a drumbeat of bad economic news over the past week, which had led some analysts to worry that the United States was on the brink of a new economic downturn."The job number was good but not good enough to get us out of all this other stuff," said Marc Pado, chief US market strategist for Cantor Fitzgerald.Markets were also buoyed by rumors that the European Central Bank was buying Spanish and Italian government bonds, which have been pummelled in recent days as investors fret about the solvency of the two countries.Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged to speed up the country's austerity measures in a bid to ease tensions on the bond market.Still, Europe's major stock exchanges fell into the red. Both London and Frankfurt closed the day with losses of more than 2.7 percent.US financial stocks were hammered amid fears of contagion from Europe's debt crisis, with Bank of America plunging 7.5 percent and Citigroup falling 3.9 percent.Kraft Foods rallied 3.2 percent. The food giant announced plans on Thursday to split itself into two companies, a move that was welcomed by many analysts and investors.
Procter & Gamble was up 1.7 percent after announcing that its quarterly profits had beaten analysts' expectations.Bond prices, which rallied this week amid the global stock sell-off, fell on Friday.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.56 percent from 2.46 percent late Thursday, while that on the 30-year bond climbed to 3.82 percent from 3.72 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.