Stocks held steady on Friday after a report showed that the U.S. job market strengthened last month, but not by quite as much as expected.
While stock indexes flipped between small gains and losses, bond and commodity markets were also relatively quiet, with few big moves.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was close to flat at 2,580, as of 11:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 6 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 23,522, and the Nasdaq composite rose nearly 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,731.
JOBS REPORT: Employers added 261,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.1 percent, its lowest level in nearly 17 years. But job growth was weaker than economists forecast. So was growth in wages: Average hourly earnings were up 2.4 percent from a year earlier, a slowdown from September's growth, which was revised down to 2.8 percent. Workers are still waiting for the strengthening job market to lead to bigger paychecks.
Economists said the last two months' jobs reports have been difficult to parse because of the damage that hurricanes did across broad swaths of the economy. The government initially said employers cut 33,000 jobs in September, but on Friday it said that employment actually grew by 18,000 during the month.
FED EFFECT: Reports on the economy have been mostly encouraging recently, which has spurred expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its next meeting in December. It would be the third increase this year.
Economists said Friday's jobs report likely won't change that timetable.
The Fed is slowly reining in the stimulus it provided the economy following the Great Recession. Besides gradually raising interest rates, it's also trimming its bond-investment portfolio. Economists expect the slow pace to continue, even as a new chairman arrives. President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Jerome "Jay" Powell to succeed Janet Yellen, whose term expires in February.
TECH RISES: Technology stocks were among the market's strongest, continuing a trend that has held for much of this year. Tech stocks in the S&P 500 have jumped 36 percent this year, more than double the 15 percent rise for the overall index.
Apple rose $4.08, or 2.4 percent, to $172.19 after it reported stronger revenue and earnings for the latest quarter than analysts forecast. A new iPhone model is debuting Friday, and Apple said it expects the $1,000 phone to make this holiday season its best quarter ever.
DISAPPOINTED: American International Group fell to one of the sharpest losses in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. AIG shares dropped $2.95, or 4.5 percent, to $62.03.
It's an outlier in what's been a mostly better-than-expected earnings season. The majority of companies have delivered higher profits than Wall Street had forecast, with growth particularly strong for the technology sector.
YIELDS: Bond yields held relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.35 percent. The two-year yield rose to 1.62 percent from 1.61 percent late Thursday, and the 30-year yield was flat at 2.83 percent.
COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 10 cents to $54.64 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 14 cents to $60.76 per barrel.
Gold fell $10.80 to $1,2767.30 per ounce, silver fell 32 cents to $16.82 per ounce and copper dropped 3 cents to $3.11 per pound.
OVERSEAS MARKETS: The French CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London was virtually flat.
South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.5 percent, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3 percent. Japan's market was closed for a holiday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.36 Japanese yen from 114.00 yen late Thursday. The euro dipped to $1.1611 from $1.1659, and the British pound rose to $1.3069 from $1.3060.