U.S. stocks mixed in cautious trade; Dow Jones up 0.09%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks were mixed on Friday, as investors remained cautious after Thursday's comments by Federal Reserve officials and amid U.S. debt worries, despite relatively positive U.S. employment data.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.09%, the S&P 500 index edged up 0.12%, while the Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.15%.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in December, more than the expected 150,000 increase, after an upwardly revised 161,000 rise the previous month.

In addition, the U.S. employment rate remained unchanged at 7.8% last month, compared with expectations for a decline to 7.7%.

Markets were jittery after the minutes of the Fed's December policy meeting showed that officials began debating an end to bond-buying as early as this year even while preparing to boost stimulus to a new record.

Investors also remained cautious over the longer term outlook in the U.S., with negotiations on raising the debt ceiling still to come in February.

Financial stocks were mixed, as shares in Bank of America eased 0.08% and Goldman Sachs fell 0.34%, while JP Morgan inched up 0.04% and Citigroup climbed 0.97%.

Citigroup was added Goldman Sachs' "conviction buy" list, while JPMorgan was removed from it, though the brokerage still rates the stock a "buy."

Qualcomm added to losses, with shares tumbling 0.82% after New York State's USD150-billion public pension fund reportedly sued the chipmaker, with hopes of forcing it to reveal its political spending.

Also in the tech sector, Intel dropped 0.54% and Texas Instruments slipped 0.27%, even as the Semiconductor Industry Association reported that November sales were up 2% from a year earlier, marking 2012's first year-over-year gain for the industry.

On the upside, Google advanced 0.86% after the Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation against the company for antitrust violations Thursday.

The FTC investigated Google for nearly two years for various business practices, primarily concerning how the company displays search results.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 added 0.16%, France's CAC 40 inched up 0.04%, Germany's DAX edged 0.10% higher, while Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.48%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.29%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.82%.

Later in the day, the Institute of Supply Management was to release a report on U.S. service sector activity.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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