The

Nasdaq Composite Index was making modest headway going into the midsession, while the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average was sticking to the downside, an about-face from its triple-digit gains a week ago.

One piece of news that wasn't helping the Dow was the

employment report

, which showed that job growth slowed in October, but that unemployment remained at its 30-year low rate of 3.9%, while average hourly earnings rose. Labor markets that are too tight and wages that are too high are inflationary, and inflation, of course, is considered bad for the economy and for business.

This morning's wage inflation number is particularly important, considering signs from yesterday's

productivity report that showed the rate of worker compensation rising faster than expected.

TheStreet.com

wrote a separate

story that looked at what the jobs report says about the economy.

Meanwhile,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

gave the Comp a reason to rally with last night's release of

earnings that beat estimates by a penny. Though the company's top-line revenue growth was weaker than expected for the quarter, it said it was comfortable with fourth-quarter estimates. Qualcomm was lately soaring 13.8% and was one of the Nasdaq's most actively traded stocks.

Another big gainer was

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

, which sells fiber-optic network equipment. It was up 5%.

Such tech heavyhitters as

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

,

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

and

BroadVision

(BVSN) - Get Report

were all in on the fun as well.

The big winner on the Comp was

Professional Detailing

(PDII)

, which yesterday posted third-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 35 cents and up from year-ago earnings of 18 cents. The stock gained $25.63 to $110.63

The Dow was stumbling under the weight of widespread weakness, particularly in recent blue-chip winners such as

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

lately adding 9 points to the index, was contributing the most upside pull.

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Sector Watch

Retail stocks were suffering and so were transports.

The

S&P Retail Index

was off 2%. This morning's unemployment report reminded investors just how hard a time retailers are going to have filling spots in the upcoming holiday season.

Transport stocks -- particularly airlines -- were having a bumpy ride, too. The

American Stock Exchange Airline Index

was falling 1.3%, while the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

was off 1.4%.

United Parcel Service

(UPS) - Get Report

was down 1.7% after it said it would acquire at least 13 pre-owned MD-11 planes from U.S. aircraft manufacturer

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

last night.

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Bonds/Economy

Bonds slipped this morning following mixed signals from the employment data showing that average hourly earnings were rising faster than expected.

Following this morning's hotter-than-expected wage growth number, the benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was face down in a puddle, with prices off 13/32 to 99 20/32, boosting the yield to 5.799%.

The 30-year

Treasury bond was 22/32 lower, to 105 25/32, and yielding 5.838%.

The

employment report

(

definition |

chart |

source

) for October presented a mixed picture. Nonfarm payrolls grew 137,000, below expectation of a rise of 184,000 and down from September's 195,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9%. Average hourly earnings however, rose 0.4% ahead of expectation of a 0.3% rise and well above the September increase of 0.2%.

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