Stocks Mixed at Mid-Session After Employment Data Disappoints; Corporate Earnings Continue

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Stocks are mixed at mid-session as investors digest a relatively disappointing jobs report that added far fewer jobs than analysts had predicted. The data comes after a speech yesterday afternoon by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke in which he commented on the slow growth in jobs.

U.S. employers added only 36,000 jobs last month, not the 140,000 positions that Wall Street economists expected. Severe weather may have impacted hiring more than expected. But the unemployment rate did fall to 9% from December's 9.4%, the lowest reading since April 2009. Wall Street thought the jobless rate would tick up to 9.5%.

In a speech Thursday, the Fed chairman said stronger payroll data and a drop in the unemployment rate could be expected soon. But he also said that the slow job market improvement so far is holding back the broader economic recovery.

In company news:

Cisco Systems ( CSCO ) announced plans to acquire Inlet technologies, a privately-held provider of Adaptive Bit Rate ( ABR ) digital media processing platforms. Under the agreement, CSCO will pay approximately $95 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for all shares of Inlet. According to the company, the acquisition of Inlet will bolster the capabilities of CSCO's Videoscape TV platform, allowing service and content providers to deliver video experiences to any device over any Internet Protocol ( IP ) network.

Bank of America ( BAC ) shares are trending lower as Bloomberg reports the bank will get at least $700 million from QBE Insurance Group for BofA's Balboa insurance unit. The move is part of BofA's plan to focus on retail customers, commercial borrowers and investment banking while getting rid of unrelated assets in order to raise capital.

Google ( GOOG ) shares are lower after the company said it received more than 75,000 job applications last week as the Internet search giant begins a hiring spree, Bloomberg reports. This figure tops a previously-reached high set in May 2007 by 15%, the report said.

K-V Pharmaceutical (KV.A) said the US Food and Drug Administration approved its drug Makena, which reduces the risk of preterm births in women with singleton pregnancy. Per the terms of an asset purchase agreement between Hologic (HOLX) and KV Pharmaceutical, Hologic will transfer the company's Makena assets to KV upon the satisfaction of certain conditions, including receipt of a $12.5 million cash payment from KV. Transfer is expected to be completed by February 11.

Verizon (VZ) stopped online sales of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone 4 after one day, in what the company called the "most successful first day" of online sales its history, according to a statement. The general market launch of the iPhone 4 on the Verizon Wireless network will occur on Feb. 10. The company will open its more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless stores at 7 a.m. It will also be available at all Apple store locations, Best Buy, select Wal-Mart stores.

Silverleaf Resorts (SVLF) soared after it says it will be bought by SL Resort Holdings Inc., an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P, for $2.50 in cash per share.

GameStop Corp.(GME) is up after the company announced that its Board of Director had authorized $500 million in additional funds for its share and debt repurchase program.

In earnings news:

--Shares of health insurer Aetna (AET) are higher after the firm reported Q4 earnings of $0.63, a penny better than the Street view. Revenue was $8.51 billion, vs. the analyst consensus of $8.4 billion on Thomson Reuters. Aetna projects full-year 2011 operating earnings per share of $3.70 to $3.80. The Street is at $3.27 per share.

--Yum! Brands (YUM) is fractionally lower after the company reported net income of $0.63 per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.60. Sales grew 6% to $3.56 billion, also topping the Street.

--MoneyGram International (MGI) reports Q4 revenue of $303.4 mln, ahead of Street expectations of $295 mln. EPS loss was $0.23, narrower than the analyst consensus of a loss of $0.35 per share on Thomson Reuters.

Tyson Foods (TSN) reports Q1 earnings of $0.78 per share, including a $0.03 per share gain, up from $0.42 per share a year ago. Sales were $7.61 bln, up from $6.63 bln last year. The Street view was a profit of $0.62 per share on sales of $7.15 bln.

Commodities are down. April gold contracts are down $5, or 0.37%, to $1,348 an ounce while March crude oil contracts are down 2.07%, or $1.88., at $88.66 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.97% to $37.34 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.52% to $5.86.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.57% to $131.44. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.58% to $56.19. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.12% to $28.25.



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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: ABR , BAC , CSCO , GOOG , IP

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