* U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in Dec
* Apple shares fall after report on Samsung smartphones
* S&P 500 nears largest weekly gain in over year
* Indexes up" Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.37 pct, Nasdaq up 0.08 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 4 U.S. stocks advanced on Friday,
putting the S&P 500 on track for its biggest weekly gain in over
a year after a jobs report showed employers kept the pace of
hiring steady in December.
The Labor Department said payrolls outside the farming
sector grew by 155,000 jobs last month, slightly below
November's level. Gains in employment were distributed broadly
throughout the economy, from manufacturing and construction to
Also helping to keep equities afloat was data from the
Institute for Supply Management showing U.S. service sector
activity expanding the most in 10 months.
"It feels like the economy, we're not burning the barn down,
but we are doing fine - we seem to be growing and the fiscal
cliff does not seem to have weighed too much on December
employment," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist
at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
The S&P 500 index's weekly gain would be its largest since
December 2011. The majority of the gains were achieved earlier
in the holiday-shortened week, including the largest daily gain
for the benchmark S&P index in more than a year on Wednesday,
after a deal was struck in Washington to avert the "fiscal
"So far there is nothing that has come out that has been
negative following the push, they tried to read into the Fed
minutes yesterday and take it down but so far they haven't had
much success," Mendelsohn said.
But a drag on Apple Inc shares, down 2.6 percent to
$528.36, kept the Nasdaq near the uchanged mark, as the iPhone
maker continued its downward path of recent months.
Adding to concerns about Apple's ability to produce more
innovative products, rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
is expected to widen its lead over Apple in global
smartphone sales this year with growth of 35 percent. Market
researcher Strategy Analytics said Samsung had a broad product
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 28.46 points,
or 0.21 percent, to 13,419.82. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 5.47 points, or 0.37 percent, to 1,464.84. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 2.50 points, or 0.08
percent, to 3,103.07.
The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of investor
anxiety, was on pace for its fourth straight decline, a drop of
nearly 40 percent which has pushed the index to its lowest level
Eli Lilly and Co was among the biggest boost's to
the S&P, up 3.5 percent to $51.47 after the pharmaceuticals
maker said it expects its 2013 earnings to increase to $3.75 to
$3.90 per share, excluding items, from $3.30 to $3.40 per share
Fellow drugmaker Johnson & Johnson rose 1.2 percent
to $71.55 after Deutsche Bank upgraded the Dow component to a
"Buy" from a "Hold" rating. The NYSEArca pharmaceutical index
climbed 0.4 percent.
Shares of Mosaic Co gained 2.7 percent to $58.29.
Excluding items, the fertilizer producer's quarterly earnings
beat analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters
The rise in payrolls shown by the jobs data did not make a
dent in the still-high U.S. unemployment rate, but it calmed
fears about the possibility of the U.S. Federal Reserve ending
its highly stimulative monetary policy.
Concerns about the duration of the Fed's stimulus program
prompted a pull-back from the market Thursday after a rally.
Minutes from the Fed's December policy meeting, released
Thursday, showed Fed officials were increasingly worried about
the risks of asset purchases to financial markets, though they
looked set to continue with the open-ended stimulus program for