MarketWatch's top stories of the week
And even the unemployment report wasn't all bad. The number of payroll jobs lost in August and September was revised lower, offering a glimmer of hope to some.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 17.46 points or 0.2% on Friday to close at 10,023.42. For the week the blue chip index gained 3.2%. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) was up 2.67 points or 0.3% to close at 1,069.30 and notch a 3.2% advance for the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.COMP) rose 7.12 points or 0.3% to close at 2,112.44. The technology heavy index rose 3.3% for the week.
Stay tuned to MarketWatch throughout the weekend. We'll keep you up to speed on whether Congress votes on the health care bill and all the other news you need. Our weekend features include a two-story package on what the government may do about banks that are too big to fail and how that might affect the industry, and a look at how to invest in the Treasury market given the outlook for economic recovery. Our Los Angeles bureau chief will also preview the big movies of the holiday season.
Meanwhile, please take a few minutes to view our weekly preview videos.
Europe's Week Ahead: Barclays, Vodafone, A-B InBev
Asia's Week Ahead: Economic Data Front and Center
-- Christopher Noble , assistant managing editor
In another sign that workers are being left out of the budding economic recovery, the U.S. unemployment rate climbed to 10.2% in October, topping the 10% mark for the first time in 26 years. The latest data show a growing disconnect between a recovery in economic output and continued job losses. Read more about the jobs report .
Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA)(BRKB) said it will buy railroad operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI) in a $44 billion deal that Chairman Warren Buffett called "an all-in wager" on the U.S. economy. It is the company's biggest acquisition ever. Find out more about the acquisition .
U.S. retailers posted their best monthly same-store sales in more than a year, with sales up 2.2% in October. Discounters and department stores led better-than-expected gains, while teen retailers struggled. The numbers, tracked by Retail Metrics, showed retailers' best month since April 2008 and compare to a 3.5% decline in October 2008, when the start of the financial crisis sent consumer spending into a nosedive. Read more about the sales data .
Gold futures barreled to a new record high above $1,100 an ounce Friday, as news that the U.S. unemployment rate topped 10.2% in October boosted expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates near zero well into next year, pressuring the dollar. The exceptionally low rates have fueled a dollar carry trade, whereby investors borrow dollars to invest in riskier assets, such as stocks and commodities, including gold. Read more about gold's action .
The U.S. economy is picking up strength, but the Federal Reserve promised again this week to keep interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period because it expects only a weak recovery. After a two-day closed-door meeting, Fed policymakers made only small changes to their statement, which is carefully picked apart for clues about what the Fed might do, and when. Find out what the Fed said .
The Bank of England expanded its money-printing, asset-purchase program this week by 25 billion pounds ($41 billion), boosting its massive and extraordinary monetary stimulus program as it attempts to see off a deep recession. The central bank, as expected, also voted to hold its key lending rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5%, where it has stood since March. Read more about rate decisions in Europe .
AT&T (T) dominated the U.S. wireless market in the third quarter with a huge run-up in iPhone sales, but rivals are stepping up their game as the crucial holiday season approaches. Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest mobile operator in terms of customers, and No. 3 carrier Sprint Nextel (S) plan to unleash another wave of devices that mimic the iPhone's most popular features. But can they match the iPhone's buzz? Read more about the latest trends in wireless .
Since Motorola (MOT) introduced its new Cliq and Droid smartphones and reported an unexpected net profit, investors are predicting the second coming of the beleaguered wireless company, sending shares higher. But is that expecting too much? The bears are making some compelling arguments that caution should prevail. Read Therese Poletti's column .
Government-backed American International Group (AIG) reported a second consecutive quarterly profit after the credit markets' rally boosted the value of its massive derivatives exposures. However, the company also pointed out continued declines in sales and premiums at some of its main insurance businesses and said it will take a $5 billion charge against results for the fourth quarter. Read about AIG's results .
Few Californians took note in July when lawmakers passed a budget item raising the state's income-tax withholding rate, but plenty of people are noticing now that their paychecks are smaller. Lawmakers hiked the withholding rates by 10% effective Nov. 1, thereby accelerating $1.7 billion into state coffers for the fiscal year ending next June. But technically, the higher withholding rate isn't a tax hike. Read more about its impact .