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Stocks Finish Mixed on Tech Pullback


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock averages finished mixed Friday as weakness in technology stocks negated much of the early euphoria about a surprise decline in the unemployment rate last month.

For the week though, Wall Street finished solidly in the green, getting October off to a strong start.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up nearly 35 points, or 0.26%, at 13,610, pulling back after running as high as 13,662 earlier in the day. The blue-chip index, which finished the week up 1.3%, is now up 11.4% so far in 2012.

Breadth within the Dow was positive with gainers outpacing laggards, 20 to 10. The biggest percentage risers were Boeing ( BA) , du Point ( DD) , Home Depot ( HD) , and Intel ( INTC) .

The biggest Dow decliners were UnitedHealth ( UNH) , Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) , and Bank of America (BAC) .

HP shares drifted lower after the stock was cut to neutral from buy at Sterne Agee. The firm said the challenges the computer giant faces look to be both secular and structural in nature.

The S&P 500 dipped less than a point, or 0.03%, to settle at 1461, but closed the benchmark index was still 1.4% higher on the week. Year-to-date, it's up 16.2%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, though, took a sizable hit, falling more than 13 points, or 0.42%, to finish at 3136. It still gained 0.64% for the past five days and has jumped 20.4% in 2012.

The strongest sectors in the broad market were consumer non-cyclicals, transportation and conglomerates. Aside from technology, consumer cyclicals, energy and utilities were weak.

Apple ( AAPL) was a big headwind for the broad market as shares of the iPhone maker lost more than 2% to close at $652.59 on heavier than normal volume of more than 21.1 million. The stock has now seen a decline in seven of the past 10 sessions and is off 7.4% since hitting an all-time high of $705.07 on Sept. 21.

Breadth was mixed with gainers running slightly ahead of losers on the New York Stock Exchange but decliners outpacing advancers on the Nasdaq. Volume totaled 3.17 billion on the Big Board and 1.61 billion on the Nasdaq.

By far the biggest news of the day was the jobs data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said nonfarm payrolls rose by 114,000 in September , just slightly ahead of the 113,000 consensus estimate, with the majority of the hiring coming in the health care and transportation and warehousing sectors.

The unemployment rate came in at a 44-month low of 7.8%, down from 8.1%, as the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.6% versus 63.5% previously; economists were predicting that the unemployment rate had risen to 8.2%.