Wall Street shrugs off government report that hiring slowed down last month; S&P 500 edges up

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Investors shrugged off a report of a sharp slowdown in hiring last month and left major U.S. stock indexes mostly higher.

Stocks wavered between gains and losses for much of the day, then crept higher in the last hour of trading Friday. Many investors concluded the report was an aberration to a large body of positive data about the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended up four points, or 0.2 per cent, at 1,842.

The Dow Jones industrial edged down seven points, just 0.05 per cent, to 16,437. If not for a slump in Chevron, which reported a decline in oil and gas production late Thursday, the index would have risen slightly.

The Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 4,174.

Utility stocks rose the most.


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