Closing Bell: Between Jobs and Syria, Markets End Volatile Day Flat

NHL Stars Ring Opening Bell At New York Stock Exchange
Ramin Talaie/Getty Images
Markets oscillated wildly Friday, but ended the day virtually unchanged, as job market data removed some uncertainty about Federal Reserve policy but worries grew about escalating tensions between the U.S. and Syria.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) ended down 14 points, or 0.1 percent, at 14,922, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose less than a point to 1,655 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) added 1 point to 3,660.

Stocks opened slightly higher after a weak jobs report for August bolstered hopes that the Fed may wait to cut back on its bond-buying program.

The Labor Department reported that employers added 169,000 jobs last month, fewer than the 177,000 economists had forecast. It also revised downward the number of jobs added in July to 104,000, from its previous estimate of 162,000.

But the market soon fell as traders worried about a standoff in Syria. Russian media reported that naval ships were en route to the country, raising worries of a wider conflict and sending stocks lower.

Investors are continuing to assess the possibility of a U.S.-led strike against Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack against its civilians. Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear Friday that Russia didn't want to be sucked into a war over Syria, signaling that Moscow would maintain ongoing support to Damascus in the event of foreign military intervention.

Energy prices have been among the most volatile on the issue, with investors concerned that military action in the Middle East will weigh on oil supplies. U.S. crude oil has spiked almost 4 percent during the past two weeks and rose 2 percent Friday.

In corporate news, Smithfield Foods (SFD) fell 4 cents to $33.92 after reporting a 36 percent fall in quarterly profit, hurt by lower exports to key international markets such as Japan, China and Russia. The U.S. pork producer that has agreed to a $4.7 billion buyout by China's Shuanghui International Holdings. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that the U.S. government should soon give the go-ahead to the acquisition. The deal would be the largest ever Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company.

More Stocks in the News:
  • Shares of Timken Co. (TKR) climbed 2.1 percent to $61.52 after it announced plans to split into two publicly traded companies. Late Thursday, Timken said that its board approved a plan to separate its steel business from its bearings and power transmission business through a spinoff.
  • Facebook (FB) shares rose 3 percent to $43.95 after hitting $44.56, its highest since the stock's debut on Nasdaq more than a year ago.
  • American Tower (AMT) rose 4.6 percent to $71.91 after the company agreed to buy privately held Global Tower Partners for $4.8 billion.
  • E-Trade Financial (ETFC) shares jumped 4.6 percent to $16.26 after Goldman Sachs (GS) upgraded the brokerage's stock to "buy" from "neutral" two days after the company received approval to use capital from its bank subsidiary for broader corporate purposes.
  • Mattress Firm Holding (MFRM) sank after the company reported second-quarter earnings of 43 cents a share, far below the 51 cents analysts expected, according to FactSet. Mattress Firm plunged more than 14 percent to $35.59.
  • VeriFone Systems (PAY) reported a third quarter loss Thursday, but the results still came in above Wall Street expectations. The electronic payment terminal maker jumped 10 percent to $22.81.
What to Watch Monday:
  • Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) reports quarterly corporate earnings.
  • The Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for July at 3 p.m. Eastern time.
-Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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No Red Line,,,I did not say that.......Lies after lies from Washington,,,,,I got ears,,I heard ...THE RED LINE.......I have never seen a president that did not want,,,or take responsible actions for what he said...
Everything that comes out of this mans mouth is a lie.!!!!!!
........Read the Bill to find out what is in it.!!!!!!!!!!! Never in my Life.!!!

Republicans,,,,grab your balls and stand up like a man.................If you lose,,,at least ,,,you stood up for the people.!!!

September 07 2013 at 8:36 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdbliz's comment

We republicans are ball-less............

September 10 2013 at 11:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Investors should ignore current data, as the data is not accurate, and look to past months. Look at July's numbers, as an example.

September 07 2013 at 7:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Beautiful's comment

Government cover up.s/!!!!!!!

September 07 2013 at 8:27 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

They keep telling us how the economy is geting better and people are returning to work but yet their "forecast for last month has their unemployment jobs figures off by 50%! Sounds like an all out lie by the government to me! How can you be off by that much and not be a blatant lie?

September 06 2013 at 11:13 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cgino's comment

Do you really beleive anything the government says.!!!!

September 07 2013 at 8:28 AM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdbliz's comment

Do you really believe anything pdbliz says.!!!!

September 10 2013 at 11:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Interesting-when the markedt gained 6 points the market ended"up" when it loses 14 points it ended "flat"-why not down?

September 06 2013 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello Bob

President Obama and Congress can do very little in creating private sector jobs. They can create government jobs but with the Teapartiers/Republicans screaming bloody murder over taxes and bloated government, job creation in government seems unlikely. At best the government will replace those who leave with another person on a one to one basis. Knuckleheads need not apply.
Those people whining about unemployment need to look to themselves and create their own jobs and opportunities. The government could triple the defense budget but that would require degreed or highly skilled technicians. That does nothing for those who dropped out of school or those who majored in sociology. Your job is up to you not President Obama.

September 06 2013 at 7:16 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Hello Bob's comment

Stop the sale of Smithfield to the Chinese.
China can now disrupt our economy.
We import car, airplane, all other high tech equipment from China.
This is the Ugly Underbelly of Capitalism.
Anything for a buck and a larger profit.
When hostilities rise , we will be brought to our knees.
Please someone listen!

September 06 2013 at 5:38 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
The Porter Clan

Yesterday there was a glowing response to the 6 point gain...Today, it is just a "flat day" with a 14 point loss.......The power of the media.

September 06 2013 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Porter Clan's comment

Dear Porter Clan,

You are hereby banned from saying anything anywhere on the internet. You've been paying too much attention and comparing the numbers. You are too smart for the average liberal poster, and we can no longer take the chance they might learn something from your posts. Maybe like thinking for themselves or critical thinking.

September 06 2013 at 6:13 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply