The stock market fell Friday in subdued trading, pressured by new unemployment data that showed surprising strength in the economy.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials lost 24.54 points to end at 2,145.80, its low point of the day. That gave the blue-chip indicator a net loss for the week of 4.09 points.In the broader market, declining issues outpaced advances by about 5 to 2 in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 1,003 issues down, 450 up and 522 unchanged.
Stocks started off sharply lower in response to the government's report that unemployment fell to 5.3 percent in October, the lowest level in 14 years, as the economy created more than 300,000 jobs.
The unexpectedly low jobless rate fueled concern that the economy could be heating up, and the Federal Reserve could move to rein in inflation by nudging interest rates higher.
"It was a negative surprise," said Michael Metz, an analyst for Oppenheimer & Co.
Stock prices made a quick recovery in the morning but later slid back, in what analysts said was a close tracking of bond prices. Activity remained dampened, as it has through most of the week, by anticipation of next Tuesday's presidential election.
"We're kind of held captive to the bond market," said Philip Puccio, a senior vice president at Dillon, Read & Co.
Like stocks, bond prices were hurt by fears of higher interest rates. The yield on the Treasury's closely watched 30-year bond, which moves inversely to its price, surged to 8.87 percent from 8.74 percent late Thursday.
Earlier in the week, many observers had been expecting the Fed to keep credit policy and interest rates stable in the near future. Recent signs that the economy is slowing and inflationary pressures are easing would make the central bank loathe to push interest rates higher, they believed.
But a recent slide in the dollar raised concern that the Fed could nudge interest rates higher in order to bolster the U.S. currency. The dollar steadied late in the week, but the fear of higher rates was rekindled by the unemployment figures - the final economic report before the election.
Volume on the floor of the NYSE totaled 143.58 million shares, down from 152.98 million in Thursday's session. Nationwide, consolidated volume in NYSE-listed issues, including trading at regional exchanges and on the over-the-counter market, totaled 173.76 million shares.
The NYSE's composite index of all its listed common stocks fell 1.38 to 155.70.
Among actively traded issues on the NYSE, Sears Roebuck dropped 1 point to 45 after surging Thursday on takeover speculation, RJR Nabisco fell 3/4 to 855/8, IBM declined 3/4 to 1203/8, AT&T slipped 1/4 to 281/2 and Ford Motor lost 3/4 at 493/4.
Tenneco was up 1/2 at 501/4, Kraft was unchanged at 1031/4 and DPL was flat at 27.
At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index was down 2.28 at 297.52.
Standard & Poor's industrial index fell 3.42 to 318.09, and S&P's 500-stock composite index was down 2.89 at 276.31.
The NASDAQ composite index for the over-the-counter market slipped 1.75 to 381.02.
The Wilshire Associates Equity Index, the market value of NYSE, American and OTC issues, was down $22.485 billion, or 0.82 percent.