Stocks Rebound From Weak Job Report to End Mixed

Stocks recovered from a poor start Friday to finished mixed on a day that saw weak jobs data and a conviction for Martha Stewart in her trial on charges involving her sale of ImClone shares.

The Dow Jones gained 7.6 points, or .07 percent, to close at 10596, while the Nasdaq slipped 7.5, or 0.4 percent, to end at 2048. The S&P 500 climbed 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to finish at 1157.

All three major U.S. indexes stumbled badly early Friday following a Labor Department report showing much weaker-than-expected payroll growth. Non-farm payrolls rose 21,000, far below Wall Street projections of 130,000 and only a small fraction of the 300,000 monthly average growth predicted by the Bush Administration for this year.

The upside of the jobs report for investors — the virtual certainty that the Federal Reserve will not be raising interest rates — helped stocks recover later in the morning.

Later in the afternoon a jury found Martha Stewart guilty of obstructing justice and lying to the government regarding her sale of nearly 4,000 shares of biotechnology company ImClone Systems in December 2001. Prosecutors contended Stewart received a tip from her former stockbroker’s assistant that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would not approve the company’s new cancer drug. Stewart sold her shares before the stock plunged, avoiding a huge loss.

Stewart and her lawyer said they would appeal the conviction.

Among technology stocks, chipmaker Intel fell 70 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $28.95 after the company lowered revenue estimates Thursday for this quarter.

Sun Microsystems plunged 36 cents, or 7 percent, to $4.80 after analyst firm Gartner Inc. reported the company had lost some of its share of the disk storage market.

Microsoft dipped 2 cents to $26.35 Friday. After the market closed, the company announced it would update its current Windows operating system prior to releasing Longhorn, its next major version of Windows.

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