* Nonfarm payrolls sharply rise in October
* Unemployment rate hits lowest since April 2008
* Financial stocks rise, utilities slump
* Dow up 0.01 pct, S&P down 0.24 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct (Adds details, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Nov 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were little changed in choppy morning trading on Friday after a stronger-than-anticipated jobs report hardened the chance that the Federal Reserve would finally raise interest rates in December.
Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the interest-rate sensitive utilities sector’s 3.42 percent decline easily the worst. The financials sector was up 1.25 percent, led by bank stocks.
Job growth in October was the best since December 2014, while the unemployment rate fell to 5 percent, the lowest since April 2008. The jobless rate is now at a level many Fed officials view as consistent with full employment.
“In the short term, this is likely to trigger increased volatility, but if rates edge up and the world doesn’t end, markets will start gaining confidence,” said Robert Craig, Private Client Investment Manager at MB Capital in London.
“For a while now, it has felt like the Fed has wanted to clear the psychological hurdle of that first rate rise, and it’s now got that opportunity.”
Traders raised the odds of a hike in December to 70 percent from the 58 percent just before the jobs data was released, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch program.
The dollar rose to a 6-1/2 month high after the data.
Higher rates increase borrowing costs for companies, while a strong dollar hurts their income from overseas markets.
At 10:44 a.m. ET (1544 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.34 points, or 0.01 percent, at 17,865.77.
The S&P 500 was down 5.03 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,094.9 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 5.21 points, or 0.1 percent, at 5,132.95.
Among financial stocks, JPMorgan rose 3 percent and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500, followed by Bank of America, up 3.8 percent and Citigroup, up 3.2 percent.
Goldman rose 3.3 percent and was the biggest influence on the Dow, followed by Disney, which was up 2.6 percent after reporting a higher-than-expected profit.
Exxon was down 1.5 percent to $83.59, the biggest drag on the S&P, after the New York attorney general launched an investigation into whether the company misled the public and shareholders about the risks of climate change.
Energy stocks fell 1 percent as crude oil prices slipped. Chevron shed 2 percent and weighed the most on the Dow.
TripAdvisor slumped 10 percent to $74.82, while Kraft Heinz was down 4 percent at $72.49 after both reported quarterly results below estimates. Kraft was the biggest drag on Nasdaq.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,222 to 758. On the Nasdaq, 1,452 issues fell and 1,126 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 11 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 107 new highs and 50 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Charles Mikolajczak; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)