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U.S. stocks end flat on Syria concerns, soft jobs report; Dow down 0.10%

CommoditiesSep 06, 2013 04:29PM ET
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This article has already been saved in your Saved Items - U.S. stocks finished Friday largely flat after a volatile session that saw concerns brew over a U.S. standoff with Russia over Syria, while a weak jobs report left the fate of monetary stimulus programs up in the air.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.10%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.01%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.03%.

The U.S. earlier continued to press its case for military strikes against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, though Russia countered on Friday that it would stand by its ally Damascus in the event of an attack from the West, which spooked investors in equities markets.

While not a major producer of crude, Syria is an ally of oil-rich Iran as well as Russia, and fears persist a U.S. military strike could engulf the entire Middle East and even beyond and threaten global economic stability and send oil prices soaring.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Labor Department reported earlier that the economy added 169,000 jobs in August, less than market calls for a 180,000 increase.

July's figure was revised down to 104,000 from 162,000, while June's figure was revised down to 172,000 from 188,000.

The private sector added 152,000 jobs in August, well beneath expectations for a 180,000 rise.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.3% in August from 7.4% in July, as more people left the workforce. Analysts were expecting the unemployment rate to remain unchanged last month.

The data fueled sentiments that the Federal Reserve may hold off on announcing plans to begin winding down its USD85 billion in monthly bond purchases at its Sept. 17-18 policy meeting.

Such stimulus tools weaken the greenback to spur recovery by driving down long-term interest rates, which sends stock prices rising, and talk of the Federal Reserve keeping its asset-purchasing program in place for longer than once expected can bolster stock prices.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Hewlett-Packard, up 1.36%, JPMorgan Chase, up 0.86%, and Alcoa, up 0.64%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included DuPont, down 0.87%, IBM, down 0.64%, and Verizon, which was also down 0.64%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.89%, France's CAC 40 rose 1.06%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished up 0.49%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.23%.

U.S. stocks end flat on Syria concerns, soft jobs report; Dow down 0.10%

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loli plon Sep 07, 2013 2:09PM ET
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