U.S. stocks open modestly higher following mixed economic data. In the month of August, job losses were less than expected, but the unemployment number rose to 9.7%, a 26 year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 24 points to 9,369. The S&P 500 Index added 3 points to 1,007, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 6 points to 1,989. Very little news other than the economic data this morning. Most people will head out early for the long Labor Day weekend. The financials are modestly higher on no news. H&R Block is down a percent after missing quarterly estimates. In the tech sector, Apple and Research in Motion are both higher. Novellus is higher after the company raised earnings guidance. Symantec is unchanged following management comments that the worst is over, at least in their business. In the retail space, Abercrombie & Fitch is lower by 5% on a downgrade. Aeropostale is unchanged on an upgrade. After the first half an hour, the averages were unchanged with the financials modestly in the green. Through the morning the averages nudged into the green on quiet trading. In the afternoon, more of the same. The Dow rose 80 points. The Nasdaq rose 30 points on quiet volume. In the last hour, no sell off. So long to summer. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 96 points, or 1%, to end at 9,441, leaving the blue chips with a 1.1% decline for the week. The S&P 500 Index climbed 13 points, or 1.3%, to 1,016, but off 1.2% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite rose 35 points, or 1.8%, to end at 2,018, leaving it 0.5% lower on the week.
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