Stock Market Today: U.S. Stocks See Slight Losses as Markets Digest Jobs Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks were trading only slightly lower on Friday as Wall Street overlooked a mixed October jobs report to digest the big picture of a tightening labor market. Major indices inched into the red though the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 remained on track for a third consecutive weekly gain. 

The U.S. reported 214,000 jobs were added to the economy in October, less than an expected 231,000, while the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% from 5.9% a month earlier. The labor participation rate edged slightly higher to 62.8% from 62.7%.

Hopes were high for a repeat performance of September's jobs report, when data showed a revised 256,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%, its lowest level in six years.

The overall case for an improving jobs market is strong. The U.S. economy has added at least 200,000 workers for nine consecutive months with an average 229,000 jobs added monthly so far this year, the fastest rate in 15 years. On Thursday, the number of claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined 10,000 to 278,000, the lowest level in roughly 14 years, for the week ended Nov. 1. Analysts had expected claims of 283,000.

The Dow slipped 0.15% and the S&P 500 fell 0.08%. The Nasdaq declined 0.44%. 

U.S. Bank's senior fixed income strategist Dan Heckman said the markets are taking the news in stride. "Equity investors are taking some profits," he said. "There are aspects of the report that were good. There were aspects that were not troubling, but not as rosy as one would hope."

U.S. stocks had been rising to new record heights in anticipation of the data celebrating a second consecutive day of all-time closing highs on Thursday. Markets have been on a tear since midweek after the GOP seized the Senate, sparking hopes of pro-business economic policy, and following European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's hints of stimulus for the eurozone.

Also on the docket Friday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will speak at a conference in Paris at 10:15am EST, while billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will report earnings after market close.

Walt Disney  (DIS) shares were slipping more than 3%. The world's largest entertainment company reported a quarter in line with expectations, though profits at its cable networks came in weaker.

Bank of America  (BAC) was down 0.32% after revising its third-quarter loss to $232 million from $70 million on legal costs of investigations into foreign exchange manipulation.

Sears (SHLD) shares were spiking 32% on news the retailer could sell as many as 300 of its stores to a real estate investment trust.

King Digital KING added 2.7% after quarterly net income of 56 cents a share beat expectations by 9 cents. However, revenue fell 15.7% due to fewer in-app sales in its most lucrative game Candy Crush.

Industry peer Zynga (ZNGA) reported bookings, a key measure of future revenue, had increased 15% in its most recent quarter. Shares climbed 6.8%.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.

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