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Stocks Slip on Mixed Jobs Report       07/02 15:52

   Stocks ended a tumultuous trading week with slight losses Thursday as 
investors sought safety ahead of an extended holiday weekend.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks ended a tumultuous trading week with slight losses 
Thursday as investors sought safety ahead of an extended holiday weekend.

   Investors bought at the opening of trading after a Labor Department report 
on job creation suggested the economy was improving, though not so fast as to 
raise the specter of inflation and higher interest rates. But the gains 
vanished after a downbeat report from the International Monetary Fund on 
Greece's finances as the country heads toward a vote on the country's financial 
bailout this weekend.

   It was a quiet close to an eventful week. Stocks plunged around the world 
Monday over worries that a Greek default could spread losses throughout the 
global financial system. A continued drop in Chinese stocks added to the fears, 
as well as a statement from Puerto Rico's governor that the commonwealth would 
not be able to pay back its large public debt.

   Stocks rose a bit over the next two days, but by Thursday's close the 
Standard and Poor's 500 index was still down 1.2 percent for the week, its 
biggest weekly loss in three months.

   U.S. markets will be closed Friday in observance of the Independence Day 
holiday.

   The S&P 500 slipped 0.64 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 2,076.78. The Dow 
Jones industrial average fell 27.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,730.11. The 
Nasdaq composite fell 3.91 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 5,009.21.

   "We've got Greece, we've got China and Puerto Rico," said Sean Lynch, 
co-head of global equity strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. 
"Investors want to take some risk off the table."

   The jobs report showed payrolls rose by 223,000 in June and the unemployment 
rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3 percent. But the rate declined mostly 
because many people abandoned their job hunts and were no longer counted as 
unemployed.

   The report also said average hourly earnings rose 2 percent, slightly lower 
than consensus.

   Investors bought bonds in anticipation that inflation, and interest rates, 
will remain low. The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose, pushing 
down its yield to 2.38 percent from 2.45 percent just before the jobs report 
came out.

   "There is no wage pressure and therefore no inflationary pressure. The Fed 
should just let the economy run," said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at 
Mizuho Securities. "Maybe instead of hiking rates in September, maybe it'll be 
in December, maybe March."

   The report from the IMF said Greece needs 50 billion euros ($56 billion) in 
new financing from October through 2018, and more debt relief. The analysis was 
made before Greece closed its banks and defaulted on IMF loans earlier this 
week. The outlook is worse now.

   Greece's government plans to put austerity measures to voters on Sunday 
after European creditors rejected its latest proposal for a new aid program.

   Six of the 10 sectors of the S&P 500 fell on Thursday. Stocks of utilities, 
considered a conservative investment because of their big dividends, rose 1.4 
percent.

   Among stocks making big moves:

   -- Health Net rose $6.51, or 10 percent, to $71.57 after Medicaid coverage 
provider Centene said it will pay about $6.3 billion to buy the company. The 
deal is more evidence of managed-care companies looking to bulk up in response 
to the federal overhaul of health care.

   -- U.S.-listed shares of BP rose $2.02, or 5 percent, to $41.29 after the 
oil driller reached an $18.7 billion settlement with several states to resolve 
litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

   -- Tesla Motors rose $10.87, or 4 percent, to $280.02 after announcing 
second-quarter deliveries of its electric car surged 52 percent to set a 
company record exceeding 11,000 vehicles. The stock has gained 26 percent so 
far this year despite consistently losing money.

   The price of oil erased early gains and closed down slightly after a closely 
watched count of working drilling rigs had its first increase since December. 
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 3 cents Thursday to close at $56.93 a barrel in New 
York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. 
refineries, rose 6 cents to close at $62.07 a barrel in London.

   In other futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

   -- Wholesale gasoline rose 2.7 cents to close at $2.034 a gallon.

   -- Heating oil rose 0.1 cent to close at $1.840 a gallon.

   -- Natural gas rose 3.9 cents to close at $2.822 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   Precious and industrial metals futures closed mostly lower. Gold lost $5.80 
to settle at $1,163.50 an ounce, silver fell two cents to $15.54 an ounce and 
copper was little changed at $2.63 a pound. 


(KA)


 
 
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