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Stocks Close Mixed Amid Fiscal-Cliff Jitters

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages traded mixed Friday after a better-than-expected November jobs report was tempered by worries about the progress on the U.S. budget talks in Washington and dimmer consumer confidence.

House Speaker John Boehner indicated Friday that there's been no signs of a breakthrough yet on the so-called fiscal-cliff negotiations.

The Nasdaq slumped as the technology sector got hit the hardest in the broad market. Apple (AAPL - Get Report) shares slid 2.6%. Earlier in the morning, the stock had been extending a mini rebound from the prior session after steep declines this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 81 points, or 0.62%, at 13,155. The blue-chip index completed a third consecutive week of gains, up 1% on the week, after it had started the session up more than 7.5% in 2012.

Breadth was slightly positive, with winners edging losers 24 to six. The top blue-chip advancers were JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Caterpillar (CAT), IBM (IBM) and Bank of America (BAC).

McDonald's (MCD) shares also moved higher, up 0.44%, after being upgraded to "buy" at Janney Capital.

The biggest laggards were Cisco (CSCO), Microsoft (MSFT) and Alcoa (AA).

United Technologies (UTX) shrugged off earlier-session declines and climbed 0.15%, after the company said it reached a mutual agreement with TransDigm (TDG) to terminate the previously announced sale of Goodrich's pump and engine control systems business to TransDigm. TransDigm shares lost 3.8%.

The S&P 500 added 4 points, or 0.29%, at 1,418. It inched up 0.13% for the week. The Nasdaq lost 11 points, or 0.38%, to 2,978. The tech-heavy index dropped 1.07% for the week.

The biggest sector decliners, along with technology, were health care and conglomerates. The bigger gainers included the basic-materials, consumer non-cyclical, financial and energy sectors.

Volumes were tepid at 3.10 billion shares on the Big Board and 1.61 million shares on the Nasdaq. Advancers were outnumbering decliners by a ratio of 1.2-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, but losers were defeating winners by a 1.1-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

"We're seeing this bracketing of the market at roughly the low 1,400s level, and that bracketing is really being driven by the fiscal cliff ... the fiscal follies of Washington ineptness," said Michael Strauss, chief economist and chief investment strategist at Commonfund. "The economic news is good enough that it's tempering what otherwise would be a decline that would unfold because of the ineptness in Washington ... and we're seeing bracketing as opposed to producing the types of declines we saw last summer."
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