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Stock market refuses to be held down by unemployment report

The stock market refused to be held down Friday by a disappointing December employment report or a record decline in consumer credit.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 and other indexes rose modestly to new 52-week highs -- cementing solid gains over the first week of the new year that, by historic standards, bode well for the rest of the year.

The market’s showing over the first five days of a new year typically has been a harbinger of its trend for the full year. The S&P climbed 2.7% for the week.

Stocks were helped Friday by anticipation of the start of corporate earnings season this week, with investors hesitant to sell in advance of what many investors think will be better-than-forecast fourth-quarter earnings gains, said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist of Wells Capital Management.

"People are saying, 'Do I want to short this market when the momentum in the economy is clearly up?’ ” Paulsen said.

The jobs report weighed on the market, but stocks whose fortunes aren't tied directly to employment growth moved higher, including some technology and health-care stocks, said A.C. Moore, chief investment strategist for Dunvegan Associates Inc. in Santa Barbara.

“That was enough to get the market up a bit,” Moore said.

-- Walter Hamilton

 
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