May 4, 2018 / 1:21 PM / in 7 months

US STOCKS-Futures lower in choppy trading after U.S. jobs report

* Nonfarm payrolls up 164,000 in April vs est 192,000

* Average hourly earnings rise 0.1 pct vs est 0.3 pct

* Apple gains after Berkshire raises stake

* Futures dip: Dow 0.27 pct, S&P 0.26 pct, Nasdaq 0.35 pct (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

May 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell briefly after the release of April nonfarm payrolls report, which showed job growth rose less than expected and the unemployment rate fell to a 17-1/2-year low.

The Labor Department’s closely watched report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 164,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent. However, wages edged up only 0.1 percent, easing concerns that inflation pressures were increasing.

“It’s a goldilocks number ... the top line missed a little bit from consensus expectations, however you had the unemployment rate drop below 4 percent, lowest since December of 2000,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“Investors continue to look for signs of inflation and we really didn’t get any. I don’t see this particular report changing the Fed’s path or the recent trend.”

After the data, stock futures initially cut some of their losses, before reversing course to drop sharply and finally ended up little changed from their levels before the report.

“It really is a mystery these days to me in terms of how market participants are reacting,” Arone said.

At 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 65 points, or 0.27 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 6.75 points, or 0.26 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 23.5 points, or 0.35 percent.

Investors were also watchful of details after China and the United States had talks in Beijing to settle trade differences.

China has offered to buy more U.S. goods and lower tariffs on some items, including cars, Reuters reported after Xinhua news agency said the talks had made progress on some aspects, though disagreements over other issues remained.

Among stocks, Apple rose 1.3 percent after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway raised its stake in the iPhone maker.

Alibaba inched up 0.7 percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly revenue, driven by steady sales in its core ecommerce and cloud computing businesses.

Pandora Media jumped 11.8 percent after the music streaming service provider reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Twitter dropped 1.2 percent after disclosing a glitch that led to some passwords being stored in readable text on its internal computer system rather than disguised by a process known as “hashing”. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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