* U.S. unemployment rate falls, but payrolls disappoint
* LinkedIn, AIG shares rise after results
* Dell committee and buyout group announce agreement, shares
* Dow off 0.1 pct, S&P off 0.04 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were nearly flat on
Friday after data showed the jobless rate fell in July but U.S.
The Dow and the S&P 500 pulled back from the record closing
highs they hit on Thursday, with Chevron, the
second-largest U.S. oil company, among the biggest drags on the
two indexes. Chevron posted a steeper-than-expected 26 percent
drop in quarterly profit, and its shares fell 1.8 percent to
The jobs report showed non-farm payrolls rose by 162,000 in
July, below expectations, but the unemployment rate fell to 7.4
percent, its lowest since December 2008. The mixed data could
make the Federal Reserve more cautious about scaling back its
massive economic stimulus.
The tepid report follows a series of better-than-expected
data and optimism about strong growth in the second half of the
"The employment number clearly was a surprise on the
downside," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North
Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.
But, he said, "that the jobs picture has improved is pretty
well established, so this may not be the driver that it was
before things turned around."
Five of the 10 S&P 500 industry sectors moved lower, led by
losses of 1 percent in the energy index. Shares of Exxon
Mobil were down 1.3 percent at $91.48.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.30
points, or 0.06 percent, at 15,618.72. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 0.61 points, or 0.04 percent, at 1,706.26.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.89 points, or 0.16
percent, at 3,681.64.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 posted its strongest day in three
weeks and closed above the 1,700 level for the first time.
Time Warner Cable fell 1.8 percent to $115.52 after
Bloomberg reported that Cox Communications Inc has held talks
about merging with cable provider and rival Charter
Communications Inc. Charter added 4.4 percent to
Dell's special committee and a group led by founder
and Chief Executive Michael Dell announced a deal that
dramatically increases the chances of his $24.6 billion buyout
going through. Dell shares gained 5.3 percent to $13.65.
LinkedIn shares jumped 11.1 percent to $236.35 and
several brokerages raised their price targets on the stock after
results on Thursday topped expectations.