* U.S. jobless claims down last week
* U.S. consumer prices barely up in March
* Bank of America, Wells Fargo fall after results
* Seagate sinks after disappointing estimates
* Indexes down: Dow 0.02 pct, S&P 0.07 pct, Nasdaq 0.16 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
April 14 (Reuters) - Wall Street was flat on Thursday as investors parsed earnings of big banks, while data pointed to strength in the labor market, despite sluggish economic growth.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo posted lower quarterly profits and increased reserves to cover bad loans from their energy portfolios.
Bank of America shares rose 0.5 percent, while Wells Fargo was down 1 percent.
The results come a day after JPMorgan beat lowered expectations for first-quarter profit and revenue, fueling a rally on Wall Street.
The S&P financial sector is down nearly 4 percent for the year - easily the worst performer among the 10 major S&P sectors - weighed down by the uncertainty surrounding U.S. interest rates and potential defaults in the energy sector.
“We’re looking at a flattish kind of market today that is looking to grasp a positive theme and the banks haven’t delivered this morning,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
At 9:38 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 4.25 points, or 0.02 percent, at 17,904.03, the S&P 500 was down 1.4 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,081.02 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 7.86 points, or 0.16 percent, at 4,939.56.
Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower. Technology was down 0.3 percent, while industrials was up 0.20 percent.
Expectations for corporate earnings are weak, with S&P 500 companies on average seen posting a 7.8 percent decline in first-quarter profit, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Data on Thursday showed U.S. consumer prices barely rose in March, while jobless claims fell more than expected and sank to levels last seen in 1973.
The data could add to speculation about when the Fed will pull the trigger on interest rates, with the market pricing in only one hike this year and the central bank projecting two.
Oil steadied after the International Energy Agency trimmed its forecast for demand growth, but said U.S. oil output was falling fast.
Seagate Technology shares were down 14 percent at $29.15 as the hard-disk maker’s disappointing third-quarter estimates prompted a slew of price target cuts. Western Digital fell 6.9 percent $41.74.
Chipotle Mexican Grill rose 3 percent to $457.77 after JP Morgan raised its rating on the stock.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,374 to 1,189. On the Nasdaq, 1,234 issues fell and 906 rose.
The S&P 500 index showed 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 10 new highs and five lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)