Stocks closed modesty higher Friday after wrestling with a disappointing reading on job growth even as the unemployment rate unexpectedly plunged.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) rose 30 points, or 0.3%, to close at 12,092. The broader S&P 500 ($INX) gained 4 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 1,311. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) added 15 points, or 0.6%, to close at 2,769.

January's wicked winter weather apparently played havoc with the government's employment situation report, as the economy added only 36,000 non-farm payrolls last month. Economists were looking for payroll growth of 148,000. Even more surprising was an unexpected plunge in the unemployment rate to 9%, a 21-month low.

"The shock to the whole market was that 9% number," says
Ben Willis, director of floor operations at Sunrise Securities Corp. "That really stunned professional traders when we watched that number come in against expectations. It would appear that the individuals at the Bureau of Labor Statistics were snowed in and didn't see past the streets of Washington last month."

Despite the inconclusive jobs report, the Dow manged to finish the week at a level last seen in June of 2008. More important, the market cleared a key technical hurdle, Willis says.

"From a professional trader's perspective, I'd rather close above 1,310 on the S&P 500," says Willis. "The equivalent would be about 12,100 in the Dow. That should allow us to continue moving up."

Eventually, however, the market will have to have a "natural and healthy pullback," the veteran New York Stock Exchange trader says.

"Just like you have to prune a rosebush to keep it blossoming, the market has to do the same thing," says Willis.

For more on Willis's view from the floor of the NYSE, see the video above.

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The entire Federal Banking System under FirstGov has been "Consumed" and "Levied" by way of a Maryland State Circuit/District Court Ruled “Appropriation and Garnishment” of all Future Earnings prior to and after 2004 against Bank Of America by way of the F.D.I.C. Regulations Prohibiting failing Banks from Merging with other failing Banks between the Dates of 08/04/08 and 10/09/09.

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May 29 2011 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

obama is printing money for the unemployed because they ran out. He believes in redistribution of wealth, like he told joe the plumber. That won't help the jobs market.

February 07 2011 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marta renna

look hehre! you will bee shoocked!

February 06 2011 at 10:46 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
marta renna

look hehre! you will bee shoocked!

February 06 2011 at 10:44 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

How is that possible? obivously many people are no longer counted. Liars use numbers and numbera make liars.

February 05 2011 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the absence of a healthy increase in employment, the only way unemployment went down is that we are no longer counting people who are not working...

February 05 2011 at 6:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I feel that if obama wants to get re-elected the market has to do well. The stimulus will prop it up and the unemployment will fall bc the numbers are doctored (people fall off the books bc they used it up). He must make it appear the economy is doing well. While some people have jobs, the national debt, massive state budget dedt, many people out of work, and states cutting education jobs left and right says we aren't doing as well as it appears. All you hear about now is all the education jobs that are going to be lost. We are pushing the problems down the road. He will make it appear like he is the savior. If obama care stays we will soon see times getting real bad because it will cost more that can be imagined. 733 exemptions so far? If it's so good then why are so many being exempted? Obama's friends, the unions, are being exempted, all the while making many workers like the self employed, pay. Our only hope is it gets repealed. Regardless, I think the market will crash by next president just from what has already been passed and spent. Unemployment percentages that are "fixed" don't mean anything to people out of work. We need less government regulation before we get jobs back. A high stock market based on stimulus money can't be sustained. He's doing his best to make everyone dependent on the government and destroy the country. I thought this was american? Didn't we fight for freedom and limited government. Why are we turning america into a socialist country? Power and greed I believe. I don't know any socialist countries that people flock to. Most have high unemployment and a low standard of living. One thing is for sure, if the government can force you to buy health care, then they can force you to buy other things that aren't public safety related. Maybe the next thing is what food you can buy, or car you drive, who knows?

February 04 2011 at 11:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
metter's world

Thejob market is wrecked thanks to Obama!

February 04 2011 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stocks are America's biggest farce.

February 04 2011 at 7:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Our socialist public educational system has indoctrinated our children into believing capitalism and freedom is bad and socialism is good. If Socialism is so good, why does the long time socialist government of Mexico boast of being the #1 producer of silver, plenty of oil, and the richest man in the world, yet 99% of their people are in the poverty level making an average of less than 6 dollars a day. Corruption is rampant. The evil, ultra rich see Mexico and want to implement socialism here, where they can have all of the wealth and power and the middle class will now be among the poor. That is what their Demoncrat puppets in the white house and senate are doing to us.

February 04 2011 at 5:51 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply