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  • DJIA down 0.61 (-0.01%) to 12,019.42
  • S&P 500 down 0.30 (-0.02%) to 1,244.28
  • Nasdaq up 0.73 (+0.03%) to 2,626.93

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Nikkei up 1.9%
  • Hang Seng up 5.6%
  • Shanghai Composite up 2.2%
  • FTSE-100 up 1.1%
  • DAX-30 up 0.7%

U.S. stocks closed near flat Friday as investors considered a drop in America's jobless rate and the ongoing European debt crisis. Friday's mixed trade came after this week's bullish winning streak. The Dow had its biggest weekly point jump in three years.

After a sharp jump, stocks came off their highs as investors assessed the jobs report. This morning, the Labor Department said the U.S. gained 120,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9.0%. The government also revised jobs data for October and September to show that 72,000 additional jobs were created over the two months. Private-sector hiring in November reached 140,000, the agency calculated.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 125,000 increase in employment in November and no change in the jobless rate. About half of the drop in the unemployment rate stemmed from a decline in the number of workers in the labor force, government officials explained.

Overseas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech reinforced the view that European leaders are prepared to take major action at a Dec. 9 summit toward tighter fiscal union. Merkel called for a quick round of treaty changes that would allow closer fiscal coordination, MarketWatch reported.

In end-of-day company news:

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares were higher after the Associated Press reported the U.S. Department of Justice approved GOOG's purchase of the online advertising service AdMeld. The DOJ concluded the deal would not lessen competition in a lucrative advertising market.

Shares of Thomson Reuters Corp (NYSE:TRI) were down after Chief Executive Tom Glocer says he will step down at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer James Smith.

Daktronics (NASDAQ:DAKT) said its board approved a regular semi-annual cash dividend of $0.11 per share and a special dividend of $0.40 per share. The semi-annual and special cash dividends will be payable on December 22 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on December 8.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) firmed after it announced a 2012 capital program of $15.5 billion and a program to repurchase up to an additional $10 billion of the company's common stock.

Brady Corp. (NYSE:BRC) was up after S&P added the company to its High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index.

Cascade (NYSE:CASC) was up after it said Q3 sales were $138 million and EPS were $1.74, including $0.32 attributable to the release of a tax valuation allowance on deferred income tax assets in The Netherlands.

On average, analysts predicted $133 million in revenue and EPS of $1.20, usual less items, the Motley Fool said.

Barnes and Noble (NYSE:BKS) climbed after getting a new buy rating from Maxim Group LLC, Bloomberg reports.

Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL) was up after it said November comparable retail sales rose 2.7% and comparable restaurant sales gained 1.2%.

Commodities finished trading in positive territory as crude closed above $100 a barrel while gold rose along with the U.S. dollar.

Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery finished up 0.8% to $100.96 a barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil was up 0.7% to $2.99 a gallon while natural gas was down 1.67% to $3.58 per million British thermal units.

Meanwhile, gold futures backed off session highs but ended up fractionally.

Gold for February delivery finished up 0.7% to $1,751.30 an ounce. In other metal futures, silver was down 0.27% to $32.67 a troy ounce while copper was up 1.71% to $3.59.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) SINA upgraded.

(+) ONCY says REOLYSIN trial hits primary endpoint.

(+) PVH firmer but pares evening gain that followed earnings, guidance beat.

(+) ZUMZ continues evening gain that followed earnings beat.

(+) MITL looks to continue evening gain that followed earnings, guidance beat.

(+) LULU upgraded.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) RIMM revises guidance due to playbook charge.

(-) GES downgraded.

(-) CLS downgraded.

Source: Dow Posts Biggest Weekly Gain In 3 Years