Stocks Mixed at Mid-Day, Despite Positive Jobs Report, as Investors Consolidate Gains

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Despite early positive sentiment thanks to a better-than-expected jobs report, stocks have moved into mixed territory at mid-day as investors try to read the tea leaves on the economy in the latest jobs data.

Before the bell, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that non-farm payroll gains totaled 151,000, more than double the 70,000 gain expected. Private-sector employment gained 159,000. The jobless rate held at 9.6%.

The unemployment rate has stayed above 9% since May of 2009--just before the recession officially ended, according to MarketWatch.

Past-months' readings were also revised up. The payrolls count in August and September was revised higher by a cumulative 110,000. Payrolls fell a revised 1,000 in August, instead of a 57,000 drop, and by 41,000 in September, instead of a 95,000 decline. Average hourly earnings increased 5 cents, or 0.2% to $22.73.

Profit-taking also likely contributed to the decline in the major indexes a day after the DJIA ended at its highest point since just before Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, widely seen as the pivotal event of the financial sector collapse.

In company news, Bank of America Corp. ( BAC ) and Citigroup ( C ) are looking at whether they will allow their employees to use Apple's ( AAPL ) iPhone as a business phone and alternative to Research in Motion's ( RIMM ) BlackBerry, Bloomberg reported. The bank's are currently testing software for the iphone to make sure it is secure enough for company messages, the report says. The move by BofA and Citi are a sign that RIM may be losing its grip on the corporate mobile phone market, the report said.

American International Group ( AIG ) said it expects to finish the sale of its Taiwan life-insurance unit within a year as the company is divesting assets to pay back the U.S. bailout of the firm. AIG had earlier said it would look at scaling back the company's operations after a deal to divest it fell apart in September, but the company said in a statement today that it believes a sale will be completed in six months, the report said.

BHP Billiton ( BHP ), the largest mining company in the world, is higher as momentum established yesterday continues. Yesterday shares soared after the Canadian government rejected the company's $39 hostile bid to acquire Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT ). Traders are viewing this action as favorable for BHP shares as an acquisition of such immense size is seen as risky.

Fablyn, a bone drug from Pfizer ( PFE ) that did not win approve from U.S. regulators due to safety questions, reportedlt reduced the risk of breast cancer and fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, Bloomberg reported. According to the report, women taking the medicine had a 79% lower chance of breast cancer compared with those on placebo, the report said. Meanwhile, Pfizer leads a race against three rivals to sell the first new pill for rheumatoid arthritis in 10 years, according to another Bloomberg report.

BP plc ( BP ) shares gained in London trading by the close of trading there Friday on talk that Exxon Mobil ( XOM ) was considering a bid for the oil company, Reuters reported. BP ADRs are trading lower at the NYSE while Exxon is logging gains. BP declined to comment on the rumor. A spokesman for Exxon said it is "not our practice to comment on market speculation, rumors or media reports," the report said.

Shareholder advisory firm ISS is recommending that shareholders of Barnes & Noble ( BKS ) renew its anti-takeover poison pill when the bookstore chain holds a special meeting on Nov. 17, Reuters reported. The poison pill was originally adopted last year after shareholder Ron Burkle doubled his stake within a matter of days, the report said.

Coca-Cola Co. ( KO ) shares are lower following Thursday news the soft drink maker hit the market with its largest debt offering ever of $4.5 billion, including a three-year tranche at one of the lowest interest rate in high-grade corporate bonds, Reuters reported. The company is looking to shorten the average length of time to maturity its debt holds, the report said.

In the latest earnings news:

--Washington Post ( WPO ) shares are higher after the company said it earned $9.12 per share from continuing operations in Q3, above the Thomson Reuters mean for $4.44. Sales were $1.1897 billion, versus estimates for $1.26317 billion. The results came from gains at its higher-education unit, which is receiving government scrutiny. The company also saw a pickup in advertising revenues at its newspaper business.

--Starbucks ( SBUX ) is higher after reporting fourth quarter earnings of 37 cents per share, better than the 32-cent expectation. Same-store sales for the quarter rose an impressive 8%. The company also raised its guidance for 2011 profit to $1.41 to $1.47 per share versus the current $1.43 consensus.

--DexCom ( DXCM ) is down after it said late Thursday total Q3 sales were $11.7 million, below the Thomson Reuters mean for $13.2 million. Net loss was $0.23 per share. Less items, the loss was $0.22 per share, wider than the mean Bloomberg estimate.

--Activision Blizzard Inc ( ATVI ) is higher after the video game maker reported better-than-expected third quarter results. The company also raised its full-year outlook as sales for titles such as World of Warcraft and StarCraft II surged.

Commodities are mixed. December gold contracts are up $9, or 0.58%, to $1,391 an ounce while December crude contacts are down 0.31%, or $0.28, at $86.21 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is down 0.6% to $37.27 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) is down 0.72% to $5.55.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is down 0.28% to $135.65. Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) is down 0.37% to $59.81. iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 0.94% to $25.91.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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