NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose Friday to wrap up the week with gains after data showed a healthy job market and Citigroup Inc. (C) shares surged on speculation the company may divest some businesses and change management.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 29.08 points, or 0.24 percent, to end at 12,307.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.55 points, or 0.18 percent, to finish at 1,409.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 9.67 points, or 0.40 percent, to close at 2,437.36.
Citigroup's stock jumped more than 2 percent on roughly triple its daily average volume and led advances in both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 on rumors that the No. 1 U.S. bank may divest some of its businesses or make senior management changes.
The government reported that U.S. employers added more jobs than expected in November, but not enough to raise concerns the Federal Reserve would be forced to raise interest rates to cool economic growth.
"The employment report appeared to be a pretty good one," said Peter Jankovskis, director of research at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. "Good growth, but non-inflationary growth in a nutshell, is what is driving the market higher today."
For the week, the Dow rose 0.93 percent, the S&P 500 advanced 0.94 percent and the Nasdaq was up 1 percent.
Before Friday's opening bell, the Labor Department reported a surprisingly strong gain of 132,000 nonfarm jobs in November. The jobs figure, which exceeded economists' forecast, increased investors' optimism about the outlook for corporate profits. But the U.S. unemployment rate edged up to 4.5 percent in November from the 5-1/2-year low of 4.4 percent it reached in October.
In the financial services sector, Citigroup's stock rallied on rumors it may consider breaking itself apart and renewed talk that Citigroup Chief Financial Officer Sallie Krawcheck may be preparing to resign.
Citigroup denied persistent speculation that Krawcheck would leave the firm, but declined to confirm she will stay in her current role as CFO.
Citigroup declined to comment on the divestiture talk.
"In the financial sector, there seem to be a lot of rumors out there impacting some of the largest names," said Cheryl Duke, chief investment officer with Eastover Capital Management in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Citigroup's stock rose 2.3 percent, or $1.14, to $51.85 on the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier, the stock surged 3.8 percent to $52.65, its highest level in more than 2-1/2 years. This gain marked the stock's biggest one-day percentage jump in more than seven months.
"With Bank of America, we have had speculation on a possible acquisition ... and on Citigroup, there has been speculation there might be some sort of restructuring," Duke said.
Shares of Bank of America Corp. (BAC) dropped 1.6 percent, or 83 cents, to $51.66 on the NYSE amid mounting speculation that the U.S. bank could bid for UK bank Barclays Plc .
Bank of America's stock was the heaviest weight on the S&P 500, limiting its advance.
The Dow's second-biggest gainer was financial services company American Express Co. (AXP), whose stock was up 1.1 percent, or 66 cents, at $59.83.
McDonald's Corp. (MCD), up 1.1 percent, or 48 cents, at $43.76, ranked among the Dow's major advancers after the world's biggest fast-food company reported a gain of 6.2 percent in November same-store sales at its hamburger restaurants. Earlier, McDonald's stock climbed to $43.89, a seven-year high.
Among stocks lifting the Nasdaq was Apple Computer Inc., up 1.4 percent, or $1.22, at $88.26. That represented a reversal from Apple's slide on Thursday.
Volume was moderate on the NYSE, where about 1.36 billion shares changed hands, below last year's daily average of 1.61 billion. On the Nasdaq, about 1.84 billion shares were traded, above last year's daily average of 1.80 billion.
Decliners narrowly edged out advancers on the NYSE, where 1,668 stocks fell and 1,628 shares rose. On the Nasdaq, the trend was positive by a slim margin, with 1,543 stocks advancing and 1,504 shares declining.