* Consumer spending dips; inflation below Fed’s target, but rising
* Chicago PMI handily beats forecast
* Big Lots shares jump after results
* Dow off 0.2 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq down 0.1 pct (Updates to morning trading, adds comment)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, May 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on the last trading session of the month on Friday after traders shrugged off mixed economic data.
The S&P 500 opened at an intraday record high and market participants see little in the way of further gains until next week, when payrolls data and a meeting at the European Central Bank will be the major catalysts.
U.S. consumer spending fell for the first time in a year in April after two months of solid gains, but the decline probably will not change expectations for a rebound in growth this quarter. An inflation gauge rose at its quickest pace since November 2012 while business activity in the U.S. Midwest rose in May at its strongest pace since October 2013.
Equity markets continue to keep an eye on Treasury yields. The 10-year note yield rose after the strong Chicago PMI data, but remained below 2.5 percent, near an 11-month low hit during Thursday’s session.
“With rates this low, valuations are generally at the high end of their range, but we’re now just above the historical average,” said Jack De Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, referring to the price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P 500.
“Markets usually don’t stop at fair valuation, they go from too highly valued to too inexpensive and back,” he said. “We’re going to move to higher valuations.”
The S&P’s forward P/E ratio of 15.6 compares to a historical average around 15, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.3 points or 0.16 percent, to 16,671.44, the S&P 500 lost 0.15 points or 0.01 percent, to 1,919.88 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.98 points or 0.09 percent, to 4,243.97.
The S&P 500 and Dow industrials were poised to close their fourth month of gains in a row. The Nasdaq could close its first positive month in three.
Big Lots shares jumped 12.5 percent to $42.20 after better than expected results and higher sales.
Chinese mobile security software maker NQ Mobile jumped 16.9 percent to $7.94 after it estimated that first-quarter revenue would exceed its previous forecast.
Apparel retailers Express and Guess forecast disappointing profits for the current quarter amid a sluggish revival in consumer spending. Express shares fell 11.4 2 percent to $12.08 and Guess lost 2.8 percent to $26.12.
Shares of Infoblox tumbled 38 percent to $12.72. The network equipment maker forecast a lower-than-expected profit for the current quarter and said its chief executive would step down. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)