US STOCKS-S&P, Dow flat after explosion at New York commuter hub

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 11, 2017 20:40 hrs

* Bluebird Bio-Celgene CAR-T drug receives positive response

* Cryptocurrency related stocks bounce after bitcoin futures debut

* Xerox up after Icahn nominates four directors

* Indexes up: Dow 0.04 pct, S&P 0.04 pct, Nasdaq 0.28 pct (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman

Dec 11 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow were flat in early morning trading on Monday after an explosion rocked New York's Port Authority, one of the city's busiest commuter hubs.

Police confirmed one suspect is in custody but were yet to identify the device used. Local news channel WABC cited police sources as saying a possible pipe bomb detonated in a passageway below ground at Port Authority.

"When you see one of these events in a major city, you get a little cautious tone. But it's never enough to really rout a stock market intraday," said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

At 9:37 a.m. ET (1437 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 8.85 points, or 0.04 percent, at 24,320.31, the S&P 500 was up 1.14 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,652.64 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 18.81 points, or 0.28 percent, at 6,858.89.

Technology stocks led the gainers on the S&P 500, rising 0.41 percent, while financial stocks were the biggest losers. Energy stocks also rose on the back of rise in oil prices after the explosion.

Interest in the surge in bitcoin and opening of futures trading continued to fuel bets on crypotcurrency related stocks, many of which have risen exponentially in value in the past three months.

Shares of Marathon Patent, Riot Blockchain , and Xunei were up between 10 percent and 24 percent.

Bitcoin futures jumped more than 20 percent in the U.S. debut on Sunday, which backers hope will encourage wider use and give legitimacy to cryptocurrency.

Market expectations of an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve later this week firmed up after a jobs report showed that the economy added 228,000 jobs in November.

However, a sluggish wage growth have raise doubts about the central bank's plan to raise interest rates thrice in 2018.

"We've got the Fed meeting where it's pretty much factored in that the Fed is going to be raising rates. The concern is what they are going to say about going forward," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Bluebird Bio shares rose about 19.2 percent after its experimental gene-modifying immunotherapy drug co-developed with Celgene received positive responses in early stage study. Celgene was up 2.4 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,487 to 1,046. On the Nasdaq, 1,502 issues rose and 894 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)