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US STOCKS-Wall St flat as drop in IBM, health stocks offset by oil gains
May 5, 2017 / 4:42 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St flat as drop in IBM, health stocks offset by oil gains

* April jobs data “non-event” for the market-analyst

* IBM tumbles after Buffett cuts stake by a third

* Energy sector up as oil prices recover

* Dow down 0.14 pct, S&P up 0.04 pct, Nasdaq up 0.01 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

May 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday as a rebound in energy companies due to higher oil prices was offset by healthcare stocks and a sharp drop in IBM.

The technology giant’s shares fell 2.3 percent to a six-month low of $155.46 after Warren Buffett said he sold nearly a third of his stake in the company.

The stock was the biggest drag on the blue-chip Dow index as well as the benchmark S&P 500 index.

A Labor Department report showed 211,000 jobs were added in April, accelerating sharply from March and pointing to tightening in the labor market.

But, the robust data did little to move the needle, also as it came two days after the Federal Reserve downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth and emphasized the strength of the labor market, in a sign it could hike rates in June.

“There weren’t any major surprises in the jobs number that came in slightly better than expected. So all-in-all I believe the data was a non-event for the market,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

About 80 percent of the S&P 500 companies having handed in their first-quarter reports, with about 75 percent of them topping profit estimates.

Still, the S&P 500 and the Dow have not moved more than 0.2 percent in either direction in the past eight sessions.

“This lackluster behavior is occurring when the market is a stone’s throw away from all-time highs, so it is either going to break out and make new highs or will go into a short corrective phase. Until then, it is a waiting game,” Bakhos said.

At 12:37 p.m. ET (1637 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 29.03 points, or 0.14 percent, at 20,922.44, the S&P 500 was up 0.86 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,390.38 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.35 points, or 0.01 percent, at 6,075.69.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher.

The energy sector’s 0.9 percent gain gave the biggest boost to the broader index as oil prices rose more than 1 percent after slumping on Thursday.

The healthcare index was off 0.4 percent, leading the decliners. It had gained 0.6 percent on Thursday when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a healthcare overhaul bill.

Cognizant rose 3.7 percent to $62.95 after the IT services provider’s profit beat estimates.

Fluor fell 6 percent to $47.60 and was the biggest decliner on the S&P after the engineering and construction company’s profit missed estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,749 to 1,047. On the Nasdaq, 1,481 issues fell and 1,263 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 45 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 95 new highs and 54 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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