* U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in Dec
* Apple shares fall 2.3 percent after report on Samsung
* S&P 500 nears largest weekly gain in over year
* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK, Jan 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on
Friday and the S&P 500 was on track for its biggest weekly gain
in over a year after a jobs report showed employers kept the
pace of hiring steady in December.
The S&P 500 index's weekly gain would be its largest since
December 2011. The index recorded the largest daily gain in more
than a year on Wednesday following the "fiscal cliff" agreement.
Shares of Apple Inc dropped 2.3 percent to $529.62,
continuing its downward path of recent months and pressuring the
Adding to concerns about the iPhone maker's ability to
produce more innovative products, rival Samsung Electronics Co
Ltd is expected to widen its lead over Apple in
global smartphone sales this year with growth of 35 percent.
Market researcher Strategy Analytics said Samsung had a broad
The market improved modestly after data from the Institute
for Supply Management, which showed the U.S. service sector grew
at its fastest pace in 10 months in December, boosted by a rise
in new orders.
"The jobs number today was somewhat benign. It was pretty
close to what estimates were, so there wasn't much to draw out
volatility," said Gordon Charlop, managing director at
Rosenblatt Securities in New York.
"I get the sense we're just sort of going to digest the
events of earlier this week," he said, referring to the fiscal
The Labor Department said payrolls outside the farming
sector grew by 155,000 jobs last month, slightly below
November's level. Gains in employment were distributed broadly
throughout the economy, from manufacturing and construction to
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 19.04 points,
or 0.14 percent, at 13,410.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 4.47 points, or 0.31 percent, at 1,463.84. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.06 points, or 0.13
percent, at 3,104.62.
Eli Lilly and Co stock rose 3.7 percent to $51.57
after the pharmaceuticals maker said it expects its 2013
earnings to increase to $3.75 to $3.90 per share, excluding
items, from $3.30 to $3.40 per share in 2012.
Shares of Mosaic Co gained 2.7 percent to $58.29.
Excluding items, the fertilizer producer's quarterly earnings
beat analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters
The Mosaic move helped boost the S&P Materials index
to 0.8 percent, the biggest gainer of the major sector indexes.
The rise in payrolls shown by the jobs data did not make a
dent in the still-high U.S. unemployment rate, but it calmed
fears about the possibility of the U.S. Federal Reserve ending
its highly stimulative monetary policy.
Concerns about the duration of the Fed's stimulus program
prompted a pull-back from the market Thursday after a rally.
Minutes from the Fed's December policy meeting, released
Thursday, showed Fed officials were increasingly worried about
the risks of asset purchases to financial markets, though they
looked set to continue with the open-ended stimulus program for
"I think you saw that in the reaction yesterday," said
Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles,
adding that he thinks the equity markets will not be dragged
further by the Fed minutes.