* Exxon, Chevron rise after results
* LinkedIn, AbbVie soar after results
* KeyCorp down after agreeing to buy First Niagara
* Consumer spending barely rose in September
* Indexes down: Dow 0.05 pct, S&P 0.04 pct, Nasdaq 0.09 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Lewis Krauskopf
Oct 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes edged lower on Friday as investors sorted through mixed earnings reports, but were still poised to finish with their best monthly performances in four years.
The S&P 500 energy index was the best performing sector, rising 1.5 percent, after better-than-expected results from Exxon and Chevron, each up nearly 2 percent.
Shares of drugmaker AbbVie jumped 12.1 percent to $60.62, the biggest positive driver for the S&P 500 index, after posting better-than-expected quarterly profit and a strong long-term outlook.
CVS Health fell 4.6 percent to $99.07 after a disappointing profit forecast for 2016, while shares of financial companies gave back recent gains.
Investors will be looking at data over the next several weeks, including next Friday’s employment report, for clues about the economy’s health before the Federal Reserve’s December meeting. The Fed signaled on Wednesday that a rate hike in December was still possible.
“I do think the market is being held a little bit hostage,” said Jeff Buetow, chief investment officer at Innealta Capital in Austin. “It would be nice to have some clarity once and for all of what monetary policy is going to do over the foreseeable future.”
At 2:36 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 8.1 points, or 0.05 percent, to 17,747.7, the S&P 500 lost 0.86 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,088.55 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.67 points, or 0.09 percent, to 5,069.61.
The S&P consumer staples sector slipped 0.5 percent. Data showed U.S. consumer spending barely rose in September and the University of Michigan’s index on consumer sentiment came in below expectations.
KeyCorp fell 7.1 percent to $12.44 after it said it would buy First Niagara Financial for $4.1 billion. First Niagara was up 0.2 percent to $10.40, while the S&P financial sector index fell 1.1 percent.
U.S.-listed shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals were down 13.5 percent at $96.50, extending recent losses, after it said it was cutting all ties with specialty pharmacy Philidor.
LinkedIn shot up 12.7 percent to $244.56 while Expedia jumped 8.4 percent to $137.76 after quarterly results beat estimates.
Shares of China Internet search company Baidu rose 11.1 percent to $187.80 after strong results, providing the biggest boost to the Nasdaq.
Strong results from blue-chips, such as Apple, have helped improve analyst sentiment on overall earnings.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,691 to 1,307, for a 1.29-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,480 issues fell and 1,266 advanced for a 1.17-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 41 new highs and 69 new lows. (Additional eporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski) )