* US employers added 155,000 jobs in Dec
* US service sector growth hits 10-month high in Dec-ISM
* Apple shares fall more than 1 pct in early trade
* Indexes: Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.2
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Jan 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks firmed slightly on
Friday after a key U.S. jobs report showed the pace of hiring by
employers had eased sightly in December but gave signals of some
momentum in the labor market's recovery since the 2007-09
Data from the Institute for Supply Management showed the
vast U.S. services sector in December grew at its fastest clip
in 10 months, boosted by a rise in new orders.
The market's reaction to both releases was modest.
New orders received by U.S. factories were flat in November,
missing expectations as demand for aircraft sank sharply,
although a gauge of business spending plans gave a positive sign
for the economy.
Shares of Nasdaq heavyweight Apple Inc fell nearly
2 percent, pressuring the tech-heavy index. Adding to concerns
about the iPhone maker's ability to produce more innovative
products going forward, rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
is expected to widen its lead over Apple in global
smartphone sales this year with 35 percent growth, propped up by
a broad product lineup, according to market researcher Strategy
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 7.79 points,
or 0.06 percent, at 13,399.15. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 1.95 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,461.32. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.50 points, or 0.21
percent, at 3,094.06.
Though the jobs data showed lackluster economic growth was
unable to make a dent in the still-high U.S. unemployment rate,
it calmed fears about the possibility of the U.S. Federal
Reserve ending its highly stimulative monetary policy.
Concerns about the endurance of the Fed's stimulus program
prompted investors to pull back from the market Thursday after a
According to the Labor Department, payrolls outside the
farming sector grew 155,000 last month, as expected and slightly
below the level for November. Gains in employment were
distributed broadly throughout the economy, from manufacturing
and construction to health care.
Minutes from the Fed's December policy meeting, released
Thursday, showed Fed officials were increasingly worried about
the risks of asset purchases on financial markets, though they
looked set to continue with the open-ended stimulus program for
Some policymakers thought asset buying should be slowed or
stopped before the end of 2013 while others highlighted the need
for further stimulus. The Fed's policy of easy credit has helped
push the S&P 500 to a 13.4 percent gain in 2012. Ending that
policy would remove an incentive for investors to purchase
riskier assets like stocks.
Apple shares were down nearly 2 percent at $532.27 in
morning trade. The stock has been on a downward trend over the
past few months on concerns about demand for the iPhone 5 and
the company's capability to produce more innovation products in
Pharmaceuticals maker Eli Lilly and Co. said on
Friday it expects 2013 earnings to increase to $3.75 to $3.90
per share excluding items from $3.30 to $3.40 per share in 2012.
The stock rose 2.5 percent to $50.94.
Mosaic Co reported that its quarterly operating
profit fell 30 percent as international distributors delayed
buying potash and phosphate to avert the price risk associated
with the fertilizer producer's negotiations with China and
India. The stock rose 1.5 percent to $57.62.