Stocks Edged Higher After Jobs Report

The major averages swayed back and forth for most of the session after a weaker than expected rise in new jobs last month

Stocks finished with small gains on Friday after a report showed a weaker than expected number of new jobs created last month. Treasury yields edged slightly higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.l7 points, or 0.08%, to 10,530.76. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.2 points, or 0.02%, to 1,220.14. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 9.21 points, or 0.43%, to 2,169.43.

In the energy markets, December NYMEX crude oil fell $1.20 to $60.58 a barrel. Relatively warm weather, along with reports that Gulf of Mexico production has recovered significantly this week, were factors weighing on prices through the session, says Action Economics.

Next week, the economic reports calendar is on the light side; look for updates on trade and import and export prices, consumer sentiment, and jobless claims released Thursday.

Friday's main event was the October employment report. U.S. nonfarm payrolls rebounded 56,000 in October from a revised 8,000 drop in September (-35,000 previously). Economists had expected about 110,000 new jobs added. August payrolls was also revised lower. Though hurricane distortions would still seem to be evident, the BLS noted that the weak jobs growth reflected "below-trend growth in areas not hit by Katrina," says Action Economics.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.0% from 5.1%. Average hourly earnings rose 0.5%, while hours worked were steady at 33.8.

Among stocks on the the move Friday, groups that led the market higher this week, such as energy and transports, fell on profit taking. Meanwhile, select tech groups and biotechs were higher.

In deal news, Verity (VRTY ) agreed to be acquired by Autonomy Corp. in a $500 million deal, or $13.50 cash per share.

Oracle (ORCL ) says CFO Greg Maffei resigned to pursue another professional opportunity. Co-president Safra Catz will take on additional responsibility of CFO. S&P maintains a buy opinion on the stock.

Elsewhere in tech, a Prudential analyst downgraded Apple Computer (AAPL ) to neutral from overweight.

In earnings news, Expedia (EXPE ) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 23 cents, vs. 17 cents a year ago, on 16% higher revenue. It says third-quarter gross bookings rose 21%.

Treasury Market

Treasury yields moved higher after the soft reading in the payrolls report. The damp 56,000 headline gain in October payrolls provided cover for the initial dive in yields, but firm components stoked inflation fears, says Action Economics. The benchmark 10-year note yield was at 4.66%.

World Markets

European stock markets finished lower on Friday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was down 8.3 points, or 0.15%, at 5,423.6.

Germany's DAX index fell 15.76 points, or 0.31%, to 4,995.24. In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 3.32 points, or 0.07%, to 4,498.7.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rallied 181.18 points, or 1.30%, to 14,075.96 -- a new four-year high. Stocks rose on optimism about economic growth and bets that Japan is moving past its long deflationary cycle, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index eased 15.80 points, or 0.11%, to 14,585.79. Property shares led the market lower in Hong Kong due to concerns of more rate hikes. This theme, in part, has held back the Hong Kong market as Asian neighbors Japan and South Korea have boomed this year, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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