It was a wobbly week for stocks, with the Dow, Nasdaq, and the S&P ultimately enjoying some decent gains:


Week's Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) +142.36 [+1.17%] 12,359.92
Nasdaq +69.07 [+2.65%] 2,674.22
S&P 500 +20.21 [+1.61%] 1,277.81

The market is caught in a struggle between some reasonably good economic data and the fear that we need to see much faster improvement, particularly in light of the ever-struggling eurozone.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) gained an incredible 8.6% yesterday, as a positive jobs survey trickled in and reports emerged that officials working on a national foreclosure fraud settlement are considering allowing banks to apply mortgage restructurings as credits toward the $20 billion or so in penalties they were expected to pay. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) also rose 2.1%.

Besides banks, other cyclical companies like Alcoa and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) enjoyed a good week, on the backs of upbeat employment and manufacturing data. Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford (NYSE: F) reported strong December sales figures and expressed optimistic outlooks.

And today, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy gained 200,000 jobs and unemployment shrank to 8.5% in December. That's an impressive figure, but it'll take years to return to full employment.

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Ilan Moscovitz doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Ford Motor, and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford Motor and General Motors and creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.