NEW YORK - Stocks were mostly higher Friday as investors brushed off a government report that hiring slowed down at U.S. employers last month.

The gains were minuscule, however, and there were a number of signs that investors were being cautious. Prices rose for bonds and gold, traditional "go-to" assets for nervous investors. Utilities and other kinds of low-risk, high-dividend stocks also rose as investors sought safe places to park money.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.71 to close at 16,437.05. The S&P 500 index rose 4.24 to 1,842.37. The Nasdaq composite rose 18.47 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,174.66.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama took a step Friday toward reshaping the Federal Reserve under incoming chairman Janet Yellen, choosing a leading expert on the global economy to be her vice chairman. Obama said he will nominate Stanley Fischer, a former head of the Bank of Israel, for the No. 2 job at the Fed.

Fischer, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Departing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, were among his students.

The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

The yearslong call by animal rights groups to improve conditions on American hog farms advanced considerably this week when two of the country's biggest meat companies urged producers to change how pregnant sows are housed, and one announced it wanted to stop the practice of killing sick or injured animals by "manual blunt force."

Tyson Foods sent new animal welfare guidelines to its independent suppliers Wednesday, six weeks after gruesome video from a farm showed animals being struck with bowling balls and others being slammed onto a concrete floor. Smithfield Foods said Tuesday it would ask growers to move pregnant sows from gestation crates to group housing by 2022.

The Supreme Court will decide whether a startup company can offer live television broadcasts over the Internet without paying fees to broadcasters.

The high court agreed Friday to hear an appeal from TV broadcast networks in their attempt to shut down Aereo Inc., which takes free signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers.

Aereo claims what it is doing is legal because it has thousands of tiny antennas at its data centers and assigns individual subscribers their own antenna. According to Aereo, that makes it akin to customers picking up free broadcast signals with a regular antenna at home.

The Transportation Security Administration is gearing up to begin inspecting shops that repair airplane parts all over the world.

The TSA will now be able to issue security orders and inspect repair stations authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to work on U.S. planes. The FAA focuses on the quality of work at repair stations. But there have been worries that terrorists could steal a plane or plant a bomb in one.

The main focus is on repair stations at airports.

Unions criticized the new rules, which will be published Monday, as being too weak.

Wire reports