Major Averages Continue To Linger Near The Unchanged Line

Following the release of the closely watched monthly jobs report, stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Friday. The major averages have once again spent the day lingering near the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is down 7.95 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 20,943.52, the Nasdaq is up 6.13 points or 0.1 percent at 6,081.46 and the S&P 500 is up 2.71 points or 0.1 percent at 2,392.23.

Before the start of trading, the Labor Department released a report showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of April.

The report said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 211,000 jobs in April after climbing by a downwardly revised 79,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected employment to increase by 185,000 jobs.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.4 percent in April from 4.5 percent in March. The unemployment rate had been expected to tick up to 4.6 percent.

The unexpected decrease pulled the unemployment rate down to its lowest level since a matching rate in May of 2007.

The report also said the annual rate of growth in average hourly employee earnings slowed to 2.5 percent in April from 2.6 percent in March.

While the bigger than expected increase in employment paints a positive picture for the economy, the data has reinforced expectations of another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve next month.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves as they look ahead to this weekend’s presidential runoff in France.

Among individual stocks, shares of Herbalife (HLF) have moved sharply higher at the nutritional products maker reported better than expected first quarter results and raised its full-year earnings guidance.

Restaurant chain Shake Shack (SHAK) is also posting a strong gain after reporting first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, shares…

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