* U.S. payrolls surge, jobless rate hits 5-1/2 year low
* AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer's raised bid of $106 bln
* Dow down 0.3 pct; S&P down 0.1 pct; Nasdaq down 0.04 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 2 U.S. stocks inched lower on
Friday as an upbeat jobs report was offset by disappointing
corporate results and a decline in healthcare shares.
U.S. job growth picked up at its fastest pace in more than
two years in April, suggesting a sharp rebound in economic
activity early in the second quarter.
Yet on the results front, LinkedIn Corp shares
dropped 6.9 percent to $150.06, a day after the social
networking company forecast 2014 revenue below Wall Street's
expectations, the latest company to disappoint on sales this
reporting period. Expedia shares fell
4.9 percent to $70.26 also after reporting results.
Analysts said investors have had a tougher time picking the
winners this year, with the S&P 500 up just 1.8 percent for the
year so far, after its huge 30-percent rise in 2013.
"It's made a lot of difference how you're positioned in the
market how you've done this year whereas last year it was kind
of everything went up," said Ed Cowart, managing director and
portfolio manager at Eagle Asset Management. "Generally, it was
hard not to make money in the market last year, and this year
it's been a little more difficult."
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc's shares were down 1.4
percent at $30.70 after its sweetened 63 billion pound ($106
billion) bid for AstraZeneca Plc was promptly rejected
by the British company Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.57 points or
0.26 percent, to 16,516.3, the S&P 500 lost 2.38 points
or 0.13 percent, to 1,881.3 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 1.705 points or 0.04 percent, to 4,125.746.
So far in this earnings season, 75 percent of companies have
beaten earnings expectations, above the long-term average, but
just 51.3 percent have exceeded revenue expectations, below the
long-term average, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Shares of Merck also lost ground. German drugmaker Bayer AG
is nearing an agreement to buy Merck & Co Inc's
consumer healthcare unit, people familiar with the
matter said, in a deal that could value the business at around
$14 billion. Merck shares were down 2.4 percent
Shares of Ares Management LP, the first U.S.
private equity firm to go public in about two years, fell to a
low of $18 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange after
being priced at $19, well below the expected range of $21-23, in
a turbulent IPO market. They were last trading at $18.36.
(Additional reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Bernadette
Baum and Nick Zieminski)