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Stocks end little changed; investors buy safe picks after weak jobs report

Stocks end little changed; investors buy safe picks after weak jobs report

U.S. stocks ended pretty much where they started Thursday after spending the day cycling up and down. Investors bought safe picks such as phone companies and food makers after a surprisingly weak report on the job market. 

Stocks started the day higher. Materials companies climbed after agricultural giant Monsanto soared on reports that it might be acquired. The market turned lower as investors worried about a Labor Department report that showed an unexpected jump in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits. Oil finished higher for the sixth time in seven days. 

“The market is following oil,” said John Cannally, chief...

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