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Mild start after jobs
Major stock gauges struggle for direction after weaker than expected October payrolls report.
November 4, 2005: 9:55 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Stocks struggled to stay higher Friday morning as investors sorted through a mixed October jobs report and eyed falling oil prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average (up 25.78 to 10,548.37, Charts) and the S&P 500 (up 1.06 to 1,221.00, Charts) index were barely changed in the early going, while the Nasdaq composite (up 6.00 to 2,166.22, Charts) added a few points.

Employers added 56,000 to their payrolls in October, the government said Friday morning, in a report that showed the labor market continued to struggle in the month amid high energy prices and the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Economists surveyed by were expecting 100,000 new jobs, on average.

The September job loss was favorably revised, to a decline of 8,000 jobs from the originally reported 35,000 jobs lost in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The unemployment report, generated by a separate survey, fell to 5 percent from 5.1 percent in September. Economists expected to have held steady at 5.1 percent. Hourly earnings, the report's inflation component, rose 0.5 percent, versus forecasts for a rise of 0.2 percent.

Among stock movers, Apple Computer (down $1.70 to $60.15, Research) slipped more than two percent after Prudential downgraded it to "neutral" from "overweight."

The major stock gauges have risen for four out of the last five sessions as investors scooped up shares beaten down in the October stock selloff.

U.S. crude oil for December delivery fell 63 cents to $61.15 a barrel in electronic trading.

Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 4.63 percent from 4.65 percent late Thursday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The dollar was little changed versus the euro and gained versus the yen.

COMEX gold rose $3 to $464.90 an ounce.

In global trade, Asian markets ended mostly higher and European markets were mixed at midday.  Top of page

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