Investors throttle back on lukewarm jobs report

NEW YORK — Stocks closed nearly flat Friday after the government's November labor report showed tepid job growth as well as a pickup in inflation.

The Labor Department said that 94,000 jobs were added to payrolls in November and that the jobless rate held steady at 4.7 percent. Analysts had set a median projection of 100,000 new jobs.

The report at least temporarily chilled a rally that has left the Dow Jones industrial average only 538 points below the record close it reached Oct. 9. The Dow rose 5.69, or 0.04 percent, to 13,652.58, and finished the week up 1.9 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.68, or 0.18 percent, to 1,504.66, ending the week up 1.59 percent. The Nasdaq composite index fell 2.87, or 0.11 percent, to 2,706.16, but ended the week 1.7 percent higher.

McDonald's to foot part of coffee expansion plan

OAK BROOK, Ill. — McDonald's said it will pay its franchisees 40 percent of the expense of outfitting U.S. restaurants to serve specialty coffees after they resisted the hefty new costs.

McDonald's announced last month that it will add espresso coffee drinks, now being tested in more than 800 restaurants, in its 13,800 U.S. outlets starting next year.

But owner-operators balked at the cost, which an executive said could run as high as $75,000 per store for remodeling and $25,000 for equip-ment.

Poll: Consumers are not bullish on the economy

WASHINGTON — Consumer confidence barely budged from a two-year low as housing troubles, a credit crunch, high energy prices and turbulence on Wall Street continue to make people uneasy about the economy and their financial situation.

The RBC Cash Index showed confidence clocking in at 65.9 in early December. That hovered close to a reading of 64 in November, which marked the worst showing since the devastation wrought by the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005.

The index was based on responses from 1,009 adults surveyed Monday to Wednesday.

Murdoch puts stamp on leadership at Dow Jones

NEW YORK — Rupert Murdoch installed his own leadership team at Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. on Friday, a week before his acquisition of the company is expected to close.

Les Hinton, who has spent his career at Murdoch-owned newspapers, will become CEO of Dow Jones next week, replacing Richard Zannino.

Robert Thomson will become publisher of the Journal, succeeding Gordon Crovitz.

Ex-printer pleads guilty in insider-trading case

NEW YORK — A former printing-plant employee pleaded guilty Friday to insider-trading in connection with an alleged scheme to trade stocks based on pre-publication copies of Business Week magazine's "Inside Wall Street" column.

The government has alleged that the Business Week scheme was part of a broader insider-trading ring orchestrated by two former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. employees that allegedly netted more than $6 million in illicit profits.

Juan Renteria, 22, is the sixth person to plead guilty to criminal charges in the case. He faces up to 20 years in prison.