US stocks flat after solid October jobs report

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct 18, 2017 in New York City. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct 18, 2017 in New York City. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks treaded water early Friday (Nov 3) after a solid October jobs report and strong earnings from Apple that boosted shares of the tech giant.

The US economy added 261,000 new jobs last month as businesses reopened in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The headline jobs figure was solid, and the prior two months were revised upward.

The jobless rate fell to 4.1 per cent, down a tenth of a point from September, the lowest the US economy has seen since December 2000.

Apple, meanwhile, rose 1.8 per cent after reporting that quarterly net profits rose 19 per cent from a year ago to US$10.7 billion (S$14.6 billion) on the back of strong iPhone sales.

The report came as Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone X, hit the stores.

About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 23,491.44, down 0.1 per cent and pulling back from Thursday's record close.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.1 per cent to 2,578.50, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 per cent to 6,720.42.

But US stocks remain near record levels after a run of solid economic data and earnings and in anticipation that President Donald Trump will win a major tax cut.

Congressional Republicans on Thursday released their long-awaited tax reform proposal, a move is expected to launch a months'-long debate on the matter.