- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street struggled to the finish yesterday, closing out the week barely changed after a steep dip in monthly job growth left investors confused about the economy’s health. The major indexes were narrowly mixed for the week.

Gregory Miller, chief economist for SunTrust Banks, said the jobs report bolstered beliefs that the economy would continue cooling off, but added that high energy costs remained a threat to prices elsewhere.

Some stocks found support from the New York Stock Exchange’s planned acquisition of stock exchange operator Euronext NV, but surging oil prices and more losses for the U.S. dollar weighed on the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 12.41, or 0.11 percent, to 11,247.87.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index edged up 2.51, or 0.2 percent, to 1,288.22; the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.45, or 0.02 percent, to 2,219.41.

Bonds surged on optimism about a possible end to the Fed’s rate tightening. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note tumbled to 5 percent from 5.1 percent late Thursday.

Elsewhere, the dollar plunged against the Japanese yen but was flat versus European currencies. Gold prices bounced back to more than $640 an ounce.

The major indexes ended yet another erratic week little changed. For the week, the Dow lost 0.27 percent, while the S&P; 500 rose 0.63 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.41 percent.

“The clear slowdown in housing and indications of less consumer strength from Wal-Mart, those are showing that there are some risks here,” said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Financial Services.

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