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Mid-Day Update: Stocks Trade With Small Losses On Disappointing Jobs Data, Lackluster Earnings

Stocks were trading defensively in a skin-tight range Friday, weighed down by the S&P 500 running into technical resistance as well as disappointing employment data and lackluster corporate earnings. Attempts to bounce off session lows continue to be frustrated by repeated bouts of profit-taking as investors appear reluctant to challenge recent record highs going into the weekend.

The Labor Department reported 4.014 million jobs were available in March, down from 4.173 million in February and missing estimates for 4.125 million job openings. Both the hiring rate and separations rate remained unchanged at 3.4% and 3.2%, respectively.

Wholesale inventory and sales, however, improved in March, both beating Street estimates. Wholesale inventories rose 1.1%, from an upwardly revised 0.7% gain in February. Wholesale sales were up 1.4%.

In corporate news, Apple ( APPL ) reportedly was in talks to purchase headphone-maker Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. Also today, the $35 billion proposed merger between Omnicom ( OMC ) and Publicis was shelved after the two advertising and public relations firms were unable to agree on terms such as leadership and the combined corporate culture.

European equities reversed Thursday's gains attributed to ECB President Mario Draghi's dovish comments concerning EU interest rates. After hitting record highs yesterday, profit-taking accelerated throughout the European session leaving the major indices all in negative turf.

Crude oil was up $0.44 to $100.69 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.06 to $4.53 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $0.10 to $1,277.80 an ounce, while silver was down $0.02 to $19.12 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $3.08 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.36% to $36.62 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.34% to $25.02. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.57% to 23.68 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.12% to $124.04. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.54% to $18.34.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 33.50 (-0.32%) to 10,577.14

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.51 (0.00%) to 16,550.46

S&P 500 down 3.34 (-0.18%) to 1,872.29

Nasdaq Composite Index down 4.33 (-0.11%) to 4,047.17

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index up 0.25%

Hang Seng Index up 0.12%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.21%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.36%

CAC 40 down 0.66%

DAX down 0.27%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.62%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.43%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.14%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) MTRX (+17.00%) Reported better than expected Q1 results, raised FY 2014 guidance.

(+) PPO (+13.97%) Q1 earnings and revenues improved from year ago levels.

(+) PBMD (+12.23%) FDA granted Fast Track Designation to the CVac clinical development program.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) FF (-20.38%) Reported lower than expected Q1 earnings.

(-) PRO (-19.25%) Beat analyst estimates but forward guidance was below expectations.

(-) ECTE (-31.27%) Reported a wider Q1 net loss.

(-) FUEL (-26.47%) Reported a miss on Q1 revenue, sets Q2 revenue view below Street

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

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

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