August 3, 2016 / 2:23 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St opens little changed

* 179,000 private sector jobs added in July vs est. 170,000

* Kate Spade drops on weak profit, forecast cut

* Time Warner rises on profit beat, Hulu stake

* Indexes down: Dow 0.04 pct, S&P 0.02 pct, Nasdaq 0.07 pct (Updates to open)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Aug 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed on Wednesday as declines in healthcare and consumer stocks were offset by gains in energy and financials.

Biogen was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq after falling 4.4 percent to $315.60.

Data showed the U.S. private sector added 179,000 jobs in July, beating estimates of 170,000. The ADP national employment report is seen as a precursor to the more comprehensive jobs data on Friday.

If the labor market is able to build on its recent strength, it could make the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this year.

“Over the last seven days, we’ve started to give back some of the gains we made post the UK referendum,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

“It’s not as if we are retracing that massive move, we are just drifting lower here and one of the key catalysts is oil prices. On balance, we’ve got a market that has more good news than bad news.”

At 9:45 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.66 points, or 0.04 percent, at 18,321.43.

The S&P 500 was up 0.38 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,157.41.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.50 points, or 0.07 percent, at 5,141.23.

Six of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with consumer staples index’s 0.4 percent loss being the biggest. Energy and financials rose more than 0.5 percent.

Investors are also parsing company earnings to gauge the health of the U.S. economy. Of the 353 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 71 percent have beaten analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Kate Spade shares plunged 19 percent, after the handbag maker reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and slashed its full-year profit and sales forecasts.

Time Warner rose 2.3 percent after beating second-quarter profit estimate and disclosing a 10 percent stake in streaming TV service Hulu.

Tesla and Twenty-First Century Fox are scheduled to report after the bell.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,435 to 1,219. On the Nasdaq, 1,207 issues rose and 1,098 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 7 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 26 new highs and 21 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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