* Nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday
* S&P bank index set for worst day since September
* Department store stocks fall on Macy's, Kohl's reports
* Dow down 0.29 pct, S&P down 0.17 pct, Nasdaq up 0.07 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Noel Randewich
Jan 5 (Reuters) - Major U.S. stock indexes were poised for their first loss of the year on Thursday as investors dumped Macy's and Kohl's after the department stores reported dismal holiday sales.
U.S. stocks have wavered over the past three weeks following a strong surge in the wake of the November election, with investors expecting President-elect Donald Trump to stimulate the economy through tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
Many on Wall Street want evidence that his campaign-trail promises will be approved by Republican lawmakers and come to fruition.
"The market is consolidating, waiting for first-quarter earnings and then waiting for the Trump agenda and the rhetoric in Washington and how much of that will go forward," said Jeff Zipper, managing director for investments at Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank in Palm Beach, Florida.
Department stores Macy's dropped 14 percent while Kohl's slumped 19 percent after the companies said their holiday sales fell more than expected.
The warnings swept up other department stores in their wake - Nordstrom fell 7.9 percent and J.C. Penney fell 6.2 percent.
Online retailer Amazon.com, which has been eating into the sales of brick-and-mortar retailers, rose 2.8 percent. The stock provided the biggest boost to the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 financial index fell 1.3 percent and was set for its worst day since September, pulled lower by JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America .
The index has risen about 17 percent since President-elect Donald Trump won the election as investors bet on his proposals aimed at reducing banking regulations.
At 2:43 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.29 percent at 19,884.52 points, while the S&P 500 had lost 0.17 percent to 2,266.82.
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.07 percent to 5,480.94.
Adding to the downbeat sentiment was the ADP National Employment report, which showed fewer-than-expected jobs were added in the private sector in December.
The report was seen as a hint ahead of Friday's more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report that includes both private and public sector hiring.
While the S&P 500 was down, just five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors fell, with financials and industrials weighing the most on the broader index.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 15 new lows. (Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)