Apple Drives Nasdaq, Props Dow and S&P 500 As Payrolls Disappoint

Apple Drives Nasdaq, Props Dow and S&P 500 As Payrolls Disappoint

Stocks opened to uneven gains Friday as the Nasdaq led, while the Dow and S&P 500 managed only narrow advances open as earnings reports continued to roll in, and after a weak reading on October payrolls.

[ibd-display-video id=2497592 width=50 float=left autostart=true] The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.2%, with Apple ( AAPL ) and Citrix Systems ( CTXS ) bolstering the Nasdaq 100. The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 fought to hold gains of less than 0.1%

Economic data placed some drag on early action, after the Labor Department reported U.S. non-farm employers added 261,000 workers in October – a vast improvement over September’s 33,000-worker decline, but still far below forecasts for the addition of 325,000 paychecks. September’s estimate was revised higher, to 18,000 workers added. The unemployment rate eased slightly, to 4.1% vs September’s 4.2% tally. The participation rate and average hourly earnings also decreased, while the average workweek held steady at 34.4 hours.

In other economic news , researcher Markit releases its October services purchasing managers index at 9:45 a.m. At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department reports its September factory orders estimates and the Institute for Supply Management delivers its non-manufacturing index for October. At 1 p.m. ET, Baker Hughes ( BHGE ) serves up its weekly oil and gas rig census.

Apple climbed 3% gain at the open, after turning in a 24% earnings gain and a 12% revenue increase late Thursday in its fiscal fourth-quarter report. Sales of iPhones during the quarter topped forecasts, and fiscal first-quarter revenue guidance was above consensus views.  The move sent shares beyond a buy range above a 160.97 buy point .

Starbucks ( SBUX ) sagged  at the open, then turned and gained 0.5%. Its late-Thursday report showed fiscal fourth-quarter revenue slipping more than forecast by analysts. The company also announced plans to sell its Tazo Tea brand in a $384 million deal with Unilever ( UL ). Shares have dropped 15% since June, and have traded below their 40-week moving average since late July.

Arista Networks (ANET) bolted 8% higher in premarket action after reporting strong third-quarter results late Thursday, and raising its fourth-quarter revenue guidance more than expected by analysts. The IBD 50 name dropped 8% in heavy trade Thursday, cutting its 10-week moving average and sending a sell signal .

Among other IBD 50 plays, Universal Display (OLED) climbed more than 5% after reporting above-forecast third-quarter results late Thursday.  The move sent shares to the top of a buy range above a flat base buy point at 145.40.

On the downside, Stamps.com (STMP) toppled 19% in early action, despite what appeared to be a strong fourth-quarter report and positive guidance for the full year. The dive undercut a 212.75 buy point in a cup-with-handle base,  by more than 8%, trigger the automatic sell rule .

Floor & Decor Holdings (FND) spiked 9% as Telsey Advisory Group upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform after a solid third-quarter report after Thursday’s close. The gain lifted the flooring retailer just above a 40.74 buy point in an eight-week flat base.

Argentina-based e-commerce leader MercadoLibre (MELI) bolted 8% higher. The company’s third-quarter earnings slipped less than forecast by analysts, and revenue surged an above-forecast 60%. Shares have posted some tight weekly closes , but are struggling to retake their 10-week line of support.

Citrix Systems ( CTXS ) popped more than 3% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to buy, from neutral, and set a price target of 109. The gain moved shares into a buy range above an 84.08 buy point in a cup-with-handle base.

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