Dow Closes Higher, Nasdaq Slips Less Than a Point

Investors look past the grim employment report to again bid up shares of blue-chips.
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Updated from 3:36 p.m. EST

Blue-chips closed firmly in positive territory while tech stocks were fractionally lower, but on the whole, more bleak economic news didn't faze the markets.

The

Dow closed up 59.64 points, or 0.6%, to 9323.54. The

Nasdaq was off less than a point at 1745.73, and the

S&P 500 was up 3.10 points, or 0.3%, to 1087.20.

Earlier, the Labor Department said the U.S. economy shed 415,000 jobs in October, its biggest monthly drop in payrolls since May 1980, while the unemployment rate jumped to 5.4% from 4.9%.

The debt crisis in Argentina also came to a head Friday when the country said it planned to replace $95 billion of government bonds with lower-yielding debt, effectively defaulting on the existing issues. The country has been mired in a four-year recession that was exacerbated by its clinging to a fixed-exchange rate, which made exports less competitive.

European markets were mostly higher, with London's FTSE 100 up 1.2% at 5130. Germany's Xetra DAX lost 1.1% to 4583. Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.4% to 10,384, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3% to 10,186.

Meanwhile, the government and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

went public with the antitrust settlement that was widely reported Thursday. Prosecutors from 18 states have yet to sign off on the deal. Microsoft's shares traded down 44 cents, or 0.7%, to $61.40.

BEA Systems

(BEAS)

gained 80 cents, or 6.8%, to $12.50. After the close Thursday, the software company lowered earnings forecasts for its third and fourth quarters for the second time in three months. The company also said it would cut up to 330 jobs, or 10% of its workforce.

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

lost $2.40, or 11%, to $19.52. SG Cowen downgraded the networking outfit to neutral from buy in a research note issued earlier this morning.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

was under pressure as well, falling $1.31, or 8%, to $15.15.

J.D. Edwards

(JDEC)

was also actively traded after announcing that it would exceed fourth-quarter earnings forecasts. The stock jumped 25.2% to $9.43.

In Afghanistan, U.S. B-52 planes carpet-bombed Taliban forces near Kabul Friday, while government officials at home have pledged to send in additional special forces troops to fight through Ramadan.

Around 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year Treasury note was down a point to 105 2/32, yielding 4.36%. The 30-year bond was down 2 15/32 to 106 16/32, yielding 4.95%.