Stocks Little Changed on Jobs Report

Stocks were little changed Friday after the government’s monthly jobs report came in stronger than expected, but not so strong that the Federal Reserve won’t have room to cut interest rates when it meets next week.

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 94,000 jobs last month, in line with estimates of a 70,000-100,000 jobs gain, with financial services, manufacturing and construction losing jobs. The one negative in the report was a larger than expected 0.5% increase in wages, but the report was enough to give the Fed a little room to cut interest rates to help ease a growing credit market crisis.

Also next week, Texas Instruments will hold its mid-quarter update on Monday, and Lehman Brothers will kick off the all-important earnings season for brokerages on Thursday.

Palm shares plunged 13% after the company said a shipping delay will result in a quarterly loss.

National Semi climbed 4%, as strong cellphone chip sales outweighed a weak outlook. Synopsis was up 9% on results that beat Wall Street estimates, and American Software gained 18% on its earnings.

Macrovision plunged 21% on plans to acquire Gemstar-TV Guide.

The Nasdaq lost 3 to 2706, the S&P was off 2 to 1504, and the Dow tacked on 5 to 13,625. Volume declined to 3.15 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.9 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 17-16 margin on the NYSE, while decliners held a 15-14 edge on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 46% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 117-84 on the NYSE, and 97-128 on the Nasdaq.

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