Jobs Report, Merger News Boost Stocks

Stocks edged higher Friday on a weaker than expected jobs report and some blockbuster merger news.

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 88,000 jobs last month, the lowest number since November 2004, but restrained wage pressures raised hopes that the Federal Reserve will be able to cut interest rates if needed to stimulate the economy.

Yahoo surged on reports that it might be acquired by Microsoft , but the Wall Street Journal reported after the close that merger talks between the two have ceased.

Reuters soared on a takeover offer from Thomson .

Priceline gained 8% after raising guidance and settling an investor lawsuit.

EDS , Cray , BigBand Networks and QLogic fell on their results, while Blackbaud and Internap gained on their earnings reports.

The Nasdaq gained 6 to 2572, the S&P 500 climbed 3 to 1505, and the Dow rose 23 to 13,264. Volume declined to 2.79 billion shares on the NYSE, and rose to 2.29 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by an 19-13 margin on the NYSE, and 17-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 61% on the NYSE, and 66% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 306-20 on the NYSE, and 189-53 on the Nasdaq.

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