The dollar finished higher Friday following a better-than-expected improvement in the nation's unemployment rate during October.

Gold prices were little changed after falling overseas. Republic National Bank of New York said gold bullion was bid at $421.50 a troy ounce as of 2 p.m. MST, slightly higher than $420.85 an ounce late Thursday.The dollar rose overseas following release of the Labor Department employment data, which indicated the economy is not slowing. The currency continued to gain ground when trading shifted to the United States.

The government said the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in October, from 5.4 percent in the previous month. Traders said the news might lead the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy, a move that would push up interest rates and make dollar-denominated investments more attractive.

Jesse Torres, chief dealer at the Bank of Boston's New York office, noted that institutional investors had a large appetite for the dollar. "The employment report renewed hope in the U.S. economy," he said.

The belief that Vice President George Bush will win the presidential election Tuesday and continue current economic policies also boosted traders' optimism, Torres said.

But Yani Budiman, vice president of Chemical New York Capital Markets Group, speculated there is still some concern heading into the election. He questioned whether market participants would "have the nerve to keep their positions" as polling approaches.

In Tokyo, the dollar closed at 124.63 yen, down 0.05 yen from Wednesday's close. Japanese markets were closed Thursday for a national holiday. In London, the dollar traded Friday at 125.35 yen, and in New York, the dollar rose to 124.93 yen from 124.68 yen on Thursday.

In London, the dollar gained strongly against the British pound. It cost $1.7655 to buy one pound, cheaper than $1.7805 late Thursday. In New York it cost $1.7661 to buy one pound, less expensive than Thursday's $1.7775.

Other late dollar rates in New York, compared with late Thursday's prices, included: 1.7910 West German marks, up from 1.7778; 1.5013 Swiss francs, up from 1.4906; 6.1188 French francs, up from 6.0726; 1,330.50 Italian lire, up from 1,322.25, and 1.2230 Canadian dollars, up from 1.2212.

Other late dollar rates in Europe, compared with late Thursday, included: 1.7955 West German marks, up from 1.7760; 1.5060 Swiss francs, up from 1.4863; 6.1215 French francs, up from 6.0565; 2.0253 Dutch guilders, up from 1.9990; 1,332.50 Italian lire, up from 1,317.50, and 1.2223 Canadian dollars, down from 1.2234.

Gold prices were mixed. On the New York Commodity Exchange, gold bullion was unchanged at $421.50 a troy ounce.

Earlier, gold fell in London to a late bid price of $420.25 a troy ounce, compared with late Thursday's $422.25. In Zurich, gold closed at a bid $420.50, down from $421.85 bid late Thursday. Earlier in Hong Kong, gold closed at a bid $421.86, down from $422.99 bid at Thursday's close.

Silver finished at $6.425 a troy ounce on New York's Comex, up from Thursday's $6.410. In London, the metal was trading at a late bid price of $6.40 a troy ounce, compared with from $6.51 bid late Thursday.