* Yelp shares rally on results, boosting Internet names
* Auto sales upbeat; U.S. payrolls due Friday
* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P 500 down 0.01 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 ended nearly flat on Thursday as investors paused ahead of Friday’s jobs report, though gains in Internet shares helped lift the Nasdaq.
The Dow was back in negative territory for the year, a day after closing at its first record high of 2014.
The April jobs report, which is expected to show U.S. employment rose at its fastest clip in five months based on a Reuters survey of economists, could be further confirmation the economic momentum is back on track after a dismal winter.
On Thursday, the U.S. car sales posted gains for April, suggesting a rebound from the winter. Shares of General Motors were up 1.2 percent at $34.90.
Facebook, up 2.3 percent at $61.15, and other Internet shares were among the day’s best performers, helped by strong results from Yelp, whose shares gained 9.8 percent to $64.02.
Tech shares had sold off in recent weeks on concerns that they, along with biotech “momentum” names, were overvalued. The Nasdaq lost 2 percent in April compared with the Dow and S&P 500’s slight gains.
Among other Internet gainers, TripAdvisor Inc added 3.4 percent to $83.50.
“Some of the growth names are coming back. They’ve been really kind of beaten down mercilessly, and I think (the bounce) has to do with the fact that earnings are being perceived as OK in some of those sectors,” said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 21.97 points or 0.13 percent, to 16,558.87, the S&P 500 lost 0.27 points or 0.01 percent, to 1,883.68 and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.896 points or 0.31 percent, to 4,127.451.
The biggest drag on the S&P 500 was Exxon Mobil, which declined 1 percent to $101.41 despite reporting first-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.
DirecTV Inc rose 4.1 percent to $80.76 after the Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T Inc had approached the company about a possible acquisition. Shares of AT&T dipped 0.3 percent to $35.58.
Jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the latest week, though the underlying trend continued to point to an improving labor market. U.S. consumer spending recorded its largest increase in more than four and a half years in March. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)