The Dow and the S&P 500 fell on Friday after an unexpectedly weak employment report cast doubts on prospects for a quick rebound in the labor market.
But the technology-heavy Nasdaq erased losses, turning positive, helped by biotechnology companies.
The Labor Department said U.S. employers unexpectedly cut 85,000 jobs in December, while economists forecast that payrolls would be unchanged. The government revised November data to show the economy added 4,000 jobs rather than lost 11,000, as initially reported.
It was disappointing, but does not destroy the idea that the economy is on a recovery track. It just makes the recovery look a little bit more gradual, said Pierre Ellis, senior economist at Decision Economics in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 24.64 points, or 0.23 percent, at 10,582.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 1.23 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,140.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 4.17 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,304.22.
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, said Friday he would like to see more improvement in the U.S. job market before the Fed exits some stimulus programs.
Financial shares dropped after Citigroup lowered fourth-quarter earnings views on Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Goldman Sachs was down 0.9 percent at $176.10, Morgan Stanley fell 0.6 percent to $32.73, and JPMorgan Chase dropped 0.4 percent to $44.60.
On the Nasdaq, Genzyme Corp
U.S.-traded shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
United Parcel Service Inc
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)