NEW YORK – Despite strong job growth data, stocks ended near unchanged levels Friday as fears lingered the Federal Reserve may institute more aggressive rate hikes amid signs of a healthier economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average (search) added 5.02 points, or 0.05 percent, to end at 10,345.40. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index (search) ended higher 5.55 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,967.35, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index (search) lost 1.28, or 0.11 percent, to close at 1,171,35.
For the week, the Dow was up 1.50 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.25 percent and the Nasdaq was up 2.38 percent.
Before the opening bell, the Labor Department (search) reported U.S. employers created 274,000 new jobs in April and added more workers in each of the two preceding months than first thought.
However, the market's reaction was tempered by a fear that the Federal Reserve (search) may raise interest rates at more than the "measured" pace that has been promised. Shares for financial services firms and real estate companies ended lower on rate hike fears.
Citigroup was down 29 cents at $46.59 and Bank of America was 36 cents lower at $45.49.
"The numbers were encouraging in the sense that we had a good report. That raises the expectation that corporate profits over the near term are going to perhaps exceed expectations," said Anthony Chan, managing director and senior economist at JPMorgan Asset Management.
"But for equity market investors, we know that faster growth is a two-edged sword. If the economy grows a little faster than expected, it may raise the wrath of the central bank and cause interest rates to go up, either for an extended period of time or more aggressively."
Competing for attention were crude oil prices, which surged as producers said they were concerned they may not be able to meet demand for gasoline this summer. A barrel of light crude settled at $50.96, up 13 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange (search).
Pixar Animation Studios (PIXR) was also in the spotlight after it reported a tripling of diluted net income in the first quarter. Shares of Pixar rose $2.43 to $48.70.
Intel Corp. (INTC) added 23 cents to $24.49 after the semiconductor maker, presenting at an analyst meeting late Thursday, promised double-digit revenue growth for 2005. The company also promised a new branding campaign later this year.
Cosmetics maker Revlon Inc. (REV) tumbled 10.3 percent, or 33 cents, to $2.89 after the company's quarterly loss narrowed from a year ago, but missed Wall Street's expectations by 6 per share. The company's revenues also fell year-over-year.
Trading was moderate, with 1.37 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange, below the 1.46 billion daily average for last year. About 1.54 billion shares were traded on Nasdaq, below the 1.81 billion daily average last year.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by about 9 to 8. Advancers outnumbered decliners by about 8 to 7 on Nasdaq.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 0.88, or 0.15 percent, at 596.52.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average surged 1.73 percent. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 closed up 0.34 percent, France's CAC-40 climbed 0.35 percent for the session, and Germany's DAX index rose 0.27 percent.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.