NEW YORK — After a volatile day, stocks ended Friday mostly unchanged, as traders weighed a weak jobs report for August and the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Syria.
By the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had risen as high as 15,009 and dropped as low as 14,789 — a big 220-point range.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.09 points to close at 1,655.17. The Dow ended down 14.98 points at 14,922.50. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.23 points to 3,660.01.
Traders were rattled by conflicting forces. A mediocre August jobs report suggested that U.S. economic growth was slowing, but provided a reason for the Fed to keep up its stimulus program. The geopolitical risks of Syria added to the uncertainty Friday.
U.S. employers added 169,000 jobs in August, fewer than the 177,000 economists had forecast. The number of job additions in July was estimated by the government at 104,000, down from an earlier 162,000.
"This was a horrible set of jobs figures, starting with large revision to last month's number," Tom di Galoma, head of fixed-income rates sales at ED&F Man Capital, wrote in an email to clients.
The price of oil surged to its highest level in more than two years on a combination of escalating tension in the Middle East and hope for continued stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Benchmark oil for October delivery rose $2.16, or 2 percent, to close at $110.53 a barrel in New York. That was the highest closing price since May 3, 2011.
Even after a bumpy Friday, the S&P 500 index had its best week in two months, rising 1.4 percent.