US STOCKS-Wall Street ends flat as investors assess U.S. rates outlook
* Nasdaq ends at record high
* Whole Foods, Sprouts shares fall
* Indexes: Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P down 0.02 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended little changed on Wednesday, though the Nasdaq eked out another record high close, as investors assessed the outlook for U.S. interest rates.
A disappointing forecast from Sprouts Farmers Market weighed on grocers. Sprouts shares were down 13.7 percent at $19.68, while Whole Foods shares fell 5.3 percent to $29.08 and Kroger shares dropped 4.1 percent to $31.32.
Investors have been weighing the likelihood of a rate hike this month from the Federal Reserve, with recent economic data including last Friday's weaker-than-expected jobs report suggesting the U.S. central bank could hold off for now.
The Fed said on Wednesday afternoon in its Beige Book report of anecdotal information that the U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace in July and August, but there was little sign that wage pressures are being felt beyond highly skilled jobs.
"Follow-through from last week's OK-but-not-tremendous employment number is sending the lower-for-longer interest rate message out there to people coming back from vacation," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. Continuación...