US STOCKS-Wall St flat following weak payrolls report
* Payrolls data weaker than expected
* Gap shares fall on weak August same-store sales
* Prana Biotech jumps on orphan drug designation
* Dow up 0.06 pct, S&P up 0.05 pct, Nasdaq off 0.07 pct (Updates to midday)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed Friday as a weak payrolls report encouraged investors that the Federal Reserve wouldn't accelerate plans to hike interest rates, though the S&P 500 remained on track for its first weekly decline in five.
After a recent flurry of economic data pointed to a strengthening economy, nonfarm payrolls for August were well below expectations, throwing cold water on the possibility that the Fed might speed up plans to hike interests at its next meeting in mid-September.
"One of the big fears of this market, maybe the only fear, has been rapidly rising interest rates," said Rick Meckler, president at LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"This puts an end to those thoughts in the near term. For a stock market investor, an economy that's not too hot, not too cold, is perfect." Continuación...