Dow flat after jobs data; Apple lifts Nasdaq


The S&P and the Dow were flat in late morning trading on Friday after October payrolls data sparked concerns about tepid wage growth while a jump in Apple supported the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Apple gained as robust initial demand for its new iPhone X allayed investor worries and strong results a day earlier.

The company briefly surpassed $900 billion in market capitalization after the stock opened at a record high of $174.

The Labor Department's closely watched employment report showed that average hourly earnings slipped by one cent in October, leaving them unchanged in percentage terms. That lowered the year-on-year increase to 2.4 percent.

"If there's one thing I would focus on, it is the fact you're really not seeing the wage inflation," said Heidi Learner, chief economist in New York for Savills Studley, a unit of Savills Plc.

"The wage numbers are becoming increasing more important than the monthly payrolls number itself."

Tepid wage growth supports the view that inflation will continue to undershoot the Fed's 2 percent target and could raise concerns about consumer spending.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 261,000 jobs after a hurricane-ravaged September, but was below economists' expectations for a 310,000 rise.

At 10:49 a.m. ET (1449 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 15.35 points, or 0.07 percent, at 23,500.91 and the S&P 500 was down 1.44 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,578.41.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 9.67 points, or 0.14 percent, at 6,724.61, helped by Apple and Starbucks.

The markets have had a busy week. On Thursday, President Donald Trump tapped Fed Governor Jerome Powell as the next head of the U.S. central bank and House Republicans disclosed their long-delayed plans for tax cuts.

The Dow and the Nasdaq were on track to post weekly gains, while the S&P was on pace to report a small weekly loss.

Starbucks was up 2.6 percent after dipping earlier following results a day earlier.

AIG fell 4.69 percent after the insurer posted a bigger loss on huge catastrophe losses and said it set aside more in reserves.

More than three-fourths of the S&P 500 companies have reported results, with 72.4 percent topping profit estimates, above the 72 percent beat-rate in the past four quarters.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,592 to 1,137. On the Nasdaq, 1,469 issues fell and 1,182 advanced.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)