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Unemployment hits seven-month high

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NEW YORK (AP) — An rise in the U.S. unemployment rate pushed most stocks down Friday as investors moved money into safer assets.

The unemployment rate climbed to a seven-month high in November as employers added just 39,000 jobs. Economists had expected a gain of 145,000.

The unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent.

Investors had hoped that a strong jobs report would help extend a two-day stock rally. Expectations of job growth rose Wednesday after a report showed that hiring at small businesses increased to the highest levels in three years. That along with signs of stronger retail spending pushed the Dow Jones industrial average up 356 points over Wednesday and Thursday.

"In order for stocks to push through their highs for this year, we're going to need a positive number on the jobs front," Todd Salamone, the director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research, had said before the report.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 22.25, or 0.2 percent, to 11,340.16 in midday trading.

Of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, only 9 rose. DuPont led the index with a 1 percent gain. American Express Co. was the index's laggard with a 1 percent loss.


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