NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks closed modestly higher on Friday, though only after the Dow retreated from triple-digit gains, as jobs data bolstered the U.S. dollar and raised questions about whether interest rates will rise. The Dow closed up by 23 points, or 0.2%, to 10,389, after rising as much as 151 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 added 6 points, or 0.6%, to 1106, while the Nasdaq rose by 21 points, or 1%, to 2194. The day's moderate uptick also helped each of the major indices end the week on an up note, with the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq ending higher by 0.8%, 1.3% and 2.6% respectively since last Friday's close, respectively. Commodities lagged on the day as an revitalized greenback erased gains, dragging related equities down with them. Oil futures prices fell after the January contract rose as high as $77.90 earlier, later settling lower by 99 cents at $75.47 a barrel. The NYSE Arca Oil Index slipped by 0.5% on the day. Exxon Mobil ( XOM) shed 74 cents, or 1%, to $74.25, while Hess ( HES) lost 3.6% at $57.10.
Gold prices also suffered as the dollar strengthened, with the February contract plunging $48.80, to settle at $1,169.50 an ounce. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index declined by 5.5%. The markets rallied earlier in the day after a government report showed that a mere 11,000 jobs were shed in November, bettering estimates of 125,000 jobs lost anticipated by economists. But stocks reversed by midday and tracked above and below the flatline throughout the afternoon session.
Fred Dickson, chief market analyst at D.A. Davidson, was more surprised by the staying power of Friday's stock rally than its reversal. "The fact that a surprise that big triggered an hour-and-a-half-long rally was even more surprising," Dickson said, adding that market reaction to a pop in interest rates was likely the cause of the declines. Year-end profit-taking was another theory as fund managers who have been playing it safe scramble for gains -- particularly in an up year. "We're going into a part of the year where things are being driven by more than the news. You're dealing with portfolio performance and the pressures exerted on fund managers," said Cantor Fitzgerald U.S. market strategist Marc Pado in a recent interview. "That's what drives money into the market in December -- especially in an up year." October factory orders released by the Census Bureau Friday morning also lifted market sentiment. Orders increased 0.6%, which surpassed economists' forecasts for 0.2%. Aircraft and petroleum products ranked saw the greatest orders growth. The improved labor report pushed the U.S. dollar higher against foreign currencies as the dollar index was up over 1%. U.S. Treasury prices fell, as investors ditched safe-haven assets. The benchmark 10-year Treasury declined 27/32 as its yield rose to 3.480%. The short-dated two-year Treasury note was down 8/32 as its yield rose to 0.846%. Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.3%, and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.5%. The FTSE in London gained 0.2% and the DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.8%. Shares of Bank of America ( CSCO) finished up by 3.3%, at $16.28 as investors applauded its
sale of $19.29 billion in securities as part of its TARP exit plan. >>Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll --Written by Sung Moss and Melinda Peer in New York.