Sept 7 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks creep higher as weak jobs number boosts hopes of Fed intervention; Pandora shares tumble on possible Apple threat; Intel cuts forecast, drops outlook. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street did not know whether to look at the August jobs report and frown or look to the Federal Reserve and cheer -- making for an indecisive market. The Dow, the S&P 500, and Nasdaq each strayed little from multi-year highs set the day before; that helped the Dow and the Nasdaq rally for the first week in three. U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs in August, far fewer than expected, and a slowdown from July's revised gain. Meantime, the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but that's because people stopped looking for work. The data could boost chances the Federal Reserve will move to stimulate the economy at next week's two-day meeting. According to an updated poll, 60 percent of economists expect the Fed to announce additional stimulus at the meeting. That's up from 45 percent two weeks ago. On the corporate front: Pandora Media could soon be facing unwelcomed competition from Apple. The company that made iTunes a household name is in talks to start a streaming media service to rival Pandora's, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shares of Pandora tumbled 17 percent on the report. Intel cut its sales forecast for the quarter and is no longer standing by its outlook for the year. The blame: a slowdown in PC demand as customers switch to smartphones and tablets. Shares of Intel were down for the day and down for the year. In Europe, investors were still basking in the glow of the ECB's bond-buying plan, which helped stocks finish modestly higher. Conway Gittens, Reuters