Dow off, S&P eyes up week after jobs and profits

Dow off, S&P eyes up week after jobs and profits

U.S. blue-chip stocks declined slightly, while the broader market was flat on Friday as healthy but moderate job growth signaled to investors that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates steady, while this week’s strong rally caused some to take profits.

Positive broker comments about Electronic Arts Inc. and other companies lent support, but a 3.6 percent drop in the shares of Inc. kept the technology sector in check.

Shares of big oil producers Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp fell and helped push both the Dow and the S&P 500 into negative territory. Even so, the S&P 500 was on track for its biggest weekly advance since August. Right after the open, the Dow hit an intraday record of 12,683.93 and then backed off.

Before Wall Street’s regular trading session began, a government report showed that the U.S. economy created a far-fewer-than-expected 111,000 jobs last month. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast that 149,000 jobs would be added to January nonfarm payrolls, compared with the initially reported 167,000 in December. In Friday’s data, though, the December figure was revised upward to 206,000.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 20.91 points, or 0.16 percent, at 12,652.77. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up just 0.51 of a point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,446.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.28 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,472.66.

Exxon Mobil shares dropped 0.6 percent to $74.67 on the New York Stock Exchange, while rival Chevron’s stock fell 0.8 percent to $73.86. Exxon Mobil was the heaviest weight on the S&P 500, while Chevron was third among the index’s major decliners.

Electronic Arts — up 5.3 percent at $53.20 — was the Nasdaq 100′s second-biggest advancer, after a couple of brokerages raised their ratings on the stock of the world’s biggest video game publisher. Late on Thursday, the company reported a quarterly profit that exceeded estimates.

In its positive influence on the Nasdaq, Electronic Arts ranked only behind Cisco Systems Inc. , up 1.3 percent at $26.92, after another brokerage started its coverage of the big network equipment maker’s stock with a “buy.”

The biggest drag on the Nasdaq was Amazon, down 3.6 percent, or $1.40, at $37.30. After the bell on Thursday the Internet retailer posted a quarterly profit that beat estimates, but signs of cost pressures disappointed investors.

Source: Reuters

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