* U.S. services sector growth rate at three-month low -ISM
* Tesla rallies after first-quarter sales data
* Indexes up: Dow 0.9 pct, S&P 0.9 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday as expectations the Federal Reserve will push any interest rate increases further into the year offset concerns over Friday’s surprisingly weak jobs report.
Labor Department data showed U.S. employers last month added 126,000 jobs, the lowest number in more than a year and well below expectations.
In other economic news, ISM data showed the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector fell in March to its lowest level in three months, while a measure from Markit showed the sector expanded in March at its fastest pace since August.
Stocks started the day lower, then turned higher in late morning trading.
“The weekend allowed market participants to see the positive side of the weak Friday number, which is that rates probably aren’t going to rise very quickly,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“That, combined with the fact that it probably also led to a weaker dollar, I think, caused a lot of people to reverse course from selling to buying.”
The S&P energy sector, up 2.1 percent, led gains as oil futures jumped after Saudi Arabia raised its price for sales to Asia and estimates for crude buildups fell.
Utilities, preferred by safety-seeking investors when Treasury yields fall, rose 1.5 percent, making them the next-best performing sector of the day.
At 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average rose 158.82 points, or 0.89 percent, to 17,922.06, the S&P 500 gained 17.96 points, or 0.87 percent, to 2,084.92 and the Nasdaq Composite added 37.11 points, or 0.76 percent, to 4,924.05.
Investors are concerned that a recent spate of soft economic data, including jobs, factory activity and consumer spending, may point to more than a weather-related slowdown and could indicate a loss of momentum in the U.S. economy.
But the lackluster data also eased some concerns over the U.S. dollar continuing to strengthen and to pressure the earnings of companies with international exposure.
On Monday, New York Fed President William Dudley said the central bank will need to determine whether that jobs report foreshadows a more substantial slowing in the labor market, adding he expects the path of rate hikes to be “relatively shallow.”
U.S.-listed shares of Amsterdam-based Uniqure jumped 46.6 percent to $33.51 after a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb to develop gene therapies for cardiovascular diseases.
Tesla Motors added 7.5 percent to $205.36 after it reported a 55 percent increase in deliveries in the first quarter.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,277 to 766, for a 2.97-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,605 issues rose and 1,101 fell for a 1.46-to-1 ratio.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 24 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 65 new highs and 22 new lows. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)