June 2, 2017 / 2:01 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P little changed as job growth slows in May

* May nonfarm payrolls up by 138,000 vs 185,000 expected

* Unemployment rate falls to 4.3 pct from 4.4 pct in April

* Average hourly earnings rise 0.2 percent

* Dow up 0.01 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.21 pct (Updates to open)

By Tanya Agrawal

June 2 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were little changed after data showed job growth slowed in May, suggesting that a bounce in the labor market was losing steam.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 138,000 last month, below the 185,000 expected by economists. Data for both March and April was revised to show 66,000 fewer jobs were created than previously reported.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in May, following a similar gain in April, but unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent in the previous month.

While last month’s job gains could still be sufficient for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month, the modest increase could raise concerns about the economy’s health after GDP growth slowed in the first quarter.

The economy needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. Job gains are slowing as the labor market nears full employment.

“It’s not really an outlier just a little bit disappointing based on consensus expectations which were maybe a little bit high,” said Sameer Samana, global quantitative analyst at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St. Louis.

“Almost all the numbers when compared to the six and twelve month moving averages, are very much in line with continued improvement in the economy and the labor market.”

Odds of a rate hike at the Fed’s June 13-14 meeting stood at 93.5 percent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

At 9:40 a.m. ET (1341 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.22 points, or 0.01 percent, at 21,145.40. The index had hit a record high of 21176.30.

The S&P 500 was flat at 2,430.12, slightly easing from an all-time high of 2433.37.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 13.26 points, or 0.21 percent, at 6,260.09. It hit a record of 6269.34.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the industrials index’s 0.35 percent rise leading the advancers.

The financial and energy sectors were the only two laggards.

Shares of banks such as Bank of America, JPMorgan , Citigroup and Goldman Sachs fell between 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent.

Brent oil tumbled below $50, heading for a second straight week of losses, on worries that President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon a climate pact could spark more crude drilling in the United States, worsening a global glut.

Oil majors Exxon and Chevron were down about 0.5 percent.

Lululemon Athletica jumped 12.2 percent to $54.74 after the athletic apparel maker’s quarterly profit beat estimates.

RH slumped 25.5 percent to $42.54 after the high-end furniture retailer slashed its full-year profit forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,596 to 980. On the Nasdaq, 1,620 issues rose and 705 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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