Updated from 4:10 p.m. EDT

Stocks managed to break a string of losses that persisted since the start of the week, but Friday's minor gains didn't come close to offsetting the damage that had already been done in recent sessions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 5.21 points, or 0.05%, to 10,292.31. The S&P 500 gained 4.41 points, or 0.37%, to 1195.90, while the Nasdaq rose 6.27 points, or 0.3%, to 2090.35.

"Inflation spooked the market this week, as the perception of how aggressive the Fed is going to be is a concern," said Barry Hyman, equity market strategist with Ehrenkrantz King Nussbaum. "We also saw an extreme correction in the energy sector. Now we have to rely on better-than-expected earnings, which is a tough call."

The major averages closed below their session highs, but considering the struggles equities have had this week, long investors were probably glad to see any kind of positive number. The Dow and the S&P had fallen for four straight days, and the Nasdaq dropped for three in a row as inflation worries led to selling pressure.

For the week, the Dow fell 2.61%, the S&P 500 lost 2.67%, and the Nasdaq finished down 2.85%.

About 1.61 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with advancers beating decliners by a 10-to-7 margin. Trading volume on the Nasdaq was 1.46 billion shares, with advancers outpacing decliners 3 to 2.

According to the Labor Department, 35,000 jobs came off payrolls in September, and the unemployment rate rose to 5.1% from 4.9%. On average, economists had been expecting about 150,000 jobs to be lost.

"This data is not as weak as expected, considering the upward revision to prior months," said John Canavan, a market analyst with Stone & McCarthy Research Associates. "The initial reaction is down for Treasuries. We're still not sure how it'll work out or if there will be any follow-through. It's generated a technical break, though. We'll have to watch how it shakes out."

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% last month, the employment report indicated. Hurricane Katrina's effects were factored into the report, but Rita hit the Gulf Coast too late to be included.

"This might just mean that the Katrina effect will be spread across more than one month," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics. "The rise in jobless claims since the storm does suggest a bigger loss of jobs than indicated here, but we can't rule out the idea of a marked strengthening in payrolls ex-Katrina."

In other markets, the benchmark 10-year Treasury added 9/32 in price to drop the yield to 4.35%. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen after the jobs data were released.

If you liked this article you might like

Paradigm Opportunity Protects Investors in Tough Times

5 Things You Need to Know Before the Stock Market Opens (Correct)

U.S. Investors Brace for a Third Bailout in Greece

5 Things You Need to Know Before the Stock Market Opens

40 Hedge Funds' Best Stocks Show the Way for 2012 (Update 1)