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Pre-Market: Apple Inc. Buys Back $14 Billion in Shares; Jobs Report Misses While Unemployment Falls


Construction and mining added the most workers in January.

Stock futures were higher today despite a disappointing jobs report that showed fewer hires than expected and a falling unemployment rate.

Before the jobs data was released, Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.23% at 15,584. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.33% to 1,772.50 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed by 0.59% to 3,507.75.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that non-farm payrolls rose by 113,000 last month, falling short of expectations of 181,000.

The biggest gains came from mining and logging, which added 76,000 jobs, and construction, which added 48,000. The public sector was the biggest laggard, as governments laid off 29,000.

On a brighter note, the unemployment rate ticked down by a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6%. The participation rate rose to 63%.

November 2013's employment increase was revised up to 274,000 from 241,000. December 2013 was only revised up by 1,000 to 75,000 -- a major disappointment to many who saw that month as a statistical fluke.

In corporate news, shares of LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) sank 6.5% after releasing lower-than-expected revenue guidance. For the previous quarter, net income fell to $3.8 million from $11.5 million the year before, though sales rose 47% to $447.2 million. Per-share earnings came in at $0.39. The professional-networking company said that 2014 revenue is likely to fall between $2.02 billion and $2.05 billion, falling short of analyst expectations of $2.16 billion.

Largely thanks to the successful sequel to the Hunger Games, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp (NYSE:LGF) had a record fiscal quarter. The film company reported that profit rose to $0.64 per share, up from $0.28 per share a year earlier. Analysts had expected EPS of just $0.44. Revenue rose 12.9% to $839.9 million. Lions Gate shares rose 3.4% in pre-market trading.

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 1.6% today after it was reported that the company bought $14 billion of its own shares in the two weeks since its disappointing earnings report.

Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) shares rose 13% after the online travel company reported earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Per-share profit rose 46% to $0.92 as revenue rose 18% to $1.2 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported that International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) might sell its semiconductor manufacturing business. IBM currently makes enterprise-level chips for its own servers and for external customers.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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