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Dec. 7, 2012 at 6:48 PM   |   Comments

Markets mixed after unemployment report

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Wall Street stocks closed mixed Friday after the Labor Department said 146,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rated dropped to 7.7 percent in November.

The jobless rate was down from 7.8 percent the previous month, but the civilian labor-force participation rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 63.6 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 81.09 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 13,155.13, which was near session highs.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index shed 11.23 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,978.04. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 4.03 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,418.07.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,654 stocks advanced and 1,359 declined on a composite volume of 3.1 billion shares.

The 10-year treasury note was off 11/32 to yield 1.628 percent.

The euro fell to $1.2926 from Thursday's $1.2968. The dollar rose to 82.40 yen from 82.39 yen.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 17.77 points, 0.19 percent, to 9,527.39.

Britain's FTSE 100 index rose 0.22 percent, 12.98 points, to 5,914.40.


Unemployment rate drops to 7.7 percent

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. unemployment rate edged down a tick to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest it has been in four years, the, Labor Department reported Friday.

The report said 146,000 jobs were added, a moderate gain that helped the rate drop from 7.8 percent, but observers say it came down mostly because an increased number of people stopped looking for work.

The November rate was the lowest since December 2008, when it was 7.3.

The Labor Department said there were 12 million people listed as unemployed, a figure little changed from October. For the long-term unemployed, those out of work for 27 weeks or longer, the count comes to 4.8 million, also little changed.

The department said the civilian workforce declined by 0.2 percentage points to 63.5 percent in November, offsetting a similar increase in October. Total employment was also unchanged after a gain of 1.3 million in September and October.

The jobs added in November were about half as many as economists say are necessary to lower the unemployment rate, explaining that a recent downward movement in the rate has been attributed more to frustrated workers giving up their search for jobs.

The department said employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month for the year.

For November, retail added 53,000 jobs, contributing to a gain of 140,000 over the past three months. Professional and business service jobs are up by 43,000. Healthcare added 20,000 jobs, less than the monthly average for the sector.

Wholesale trades gained 13,000 jobs, hospitality added 23,000, adding to a gain of 305,000 over the past 12 months.

But cornerstone industries of construction and manufacturing did less well. Construction lost 20,000 jobs in November while manufacturing "changed little," with 10,000 new jobs in automobile manufacturing, but 9,000 fewer in chemical manufacturing and 12,000 fewer in food processing.


Italian fund buying third of Aston Martin

MILAN, Italy, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- An investment fund in Italy said it had agreed to buy 37.5 percent of British luxury sports carmaker Aston Martin for $245.7 million.

The stake will be purchased by Andrea Bonomi's InvestIndustrial in a deal with Aston Martin's parent company, Kuwaiti investment group DAR, ANSA reported Friday.

InvestIndustrial is the group that sold motorcycle company Ducati to Audi in April, the news agency said.


Texas firm expands N.Y. tax-return work

KINGSTON, N.Y., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A Texas outsourcing firm contracted by New York to process state income-tax returns will expand and hire up to 250 more people, officials said Friday.

SourceHOV LLC of Dallas, which processes state returns in New York City and Binghamton, will expand in January to a clean-technology hub in Kingston, between New York City and Albany, the company and Ulster County said.

The employees, occupying 40,000 square feet of office space, will handle document conversion and data capture for about 11 million New Yorkers' state tax returns, County Executive Michael Hein said.

A Hein statement didn't indicate if the jobs were full- or part-time or if they were permanent or seasonal. It also didn't explain the reason for the expansion. A SourceHOV representative told United Press International no executive was available to answer questions.

SourceHOV Business Process Solutions President Suresh Yannamani said in a statement the company "looks forward to getting its new operation up and running."

The announcement of the new operation came less than a year after Bank of America Corp. shut down a state income-tax processing center in Kingston that employed 100 full-time and 900 seasonal workers.

SourceHOV, a $480 million firm with 12,500 employees, was formed in a 2011 merger of SourceCorp Inc. and HOV Services Ltd. It operates in 25 U.S. states and six North American, Asian and Pacific Rim countries, the company's website indicates.

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