Stocks mixed despite strong December jobs report

Stocks are trading mixed at midday despite a government report that the unemployment rate dropped in December to the lowest level in nearly three years.

Concerns about the European debt crisis continued to weigh on the market Friday. Italy’s borrowing costs spiked to dangerously high levels and the euro fell to a 16-month low against the dollar.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14 points to 12,401 as of 11:45 a.m. Alcoa Inc. was the Dow’s biggest lower, slipping 2.5 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edge up half a point to 1,281. The Nasdaq composite was up 10 at 2,679.

Investors weren’t that impressed with the latest strong jobs report. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell last month to 8.5 percent last month.