|12:29 EDT||ARAY, AGU, HNR, POT, CSTR, SCTY, MOS, FINL||On The Fly: Midday Wrap|
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday after the monthly jobs report was roughly in-line with forecasts and a measure of growth in the services sector beat expectations. The averages began the session in quiet fashion in what looked like the start of a day of market consolidation after the big advances seen Monday and Wednesday. Yesterday's pullback, triggered by the release of the minutes from the Fed's last meeting, may turn out to be the week's only down day if the current levels hold into the closing bell... ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Labor Department said employers added 155,000 jobs in December, which was about in-line with estimates and near the average pace of job growth over the last year. The unemployment rate for November was upwardly revised to 7.8% and the Labor Department said the 7.8% rate carried over to December as well. Factory orders were flat in November, versus expectations for them to increase 0.4%. The December ISM non-manufacturing index, which measures services sector expansion or contraction, came in at 56.1, versus expectations for a 54.1 reading. Reports from the Energy Information Administration showed inventories of crude oil and natural gas both drew down more than expected last week... COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Mosaic (MOS) advanced over 2.5% following its report of better than expected earnings and its peers in the fertilizer industry, including Potash (POT) and Agrium (AGU), rose in concert... Conversely, Finish Line (FINL) reported a break-even quarter, disappointing the Street and prompting downgrades at Northland Securities and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Finish Line shares slid nearly 6%... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was recent IPO SolarCity (SCTY), which rose over 16% after it gave guidance for its expected growth in deployments this year. Also higher were shares of Harvest Natural Resources (HNR), up 12% after it announced a new oil discovery in West Africa. Among the noteworthy losers were Accuray (ARAY), down 20% following a downgrade to Underweight at JPMorgan after the company's negative Q2 pre-announcement, and Coinstar (CSTR), down over 5% after its CEO announced plan to retire in March... INDICES: Near noon, the Dow was up 15.88, or 0.12%, to 13,407.24; the Nasdaq was up 3.49, or 0.11%, to 3,104.06; and the S&P 500 was up 4.12, or 0.28%, to 1,463.49.