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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