US STOCKS-Wall St sinks after payrolls, Syria still a concern
* Payroll report misses expectations, July revised down
* Geopolitical concerns weigh on market, Syria in focus
* American Tower to buy Global Tower Partners for $4.8 bln
* Indexes down: Dow 0.8 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday as the August payroll report came in weaker than expected and as the prospect of a possible Western-led strike against Syria continued to weigh on sentiment.
Equities had opened higher but turned negative in early trading, though they remained on track for weekly gains.
About 169,000 jobs were added in August, fewer than the 180,000 that had been expected, while the previous month's payroll report was revised sharply lower. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent a month earlier.
While the report was bearish, many analysts said it wasn't so weak that the U.S. central bank would adjust plans to slow its stimulus. The Fed has said it would begin easing if economic growth meets its targets. Many market participants expect the scaling back to begin in September.
"The report was lackluster and underwhelming, and the dramatic revision downward last month speaks to how flawed the labor recovery is," said Kristina Hooper, head of portfolio strategies at Allianz Global Investors in New York. "However, this isn't a showstopper. Our views about tapering beginning in September haven't changed."
Before the report came out, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the Fed could begin to wind the stimulus down later this year, though he didn't specify a month.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 113.31 points, or 0.76 percent, at 14,824.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 8.56 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,646.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 26.34 points, or 0.72 percent, at 3,632.44.
For the week, the S&P 500 is up 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq is up 1.1 percent. The Dow is up less than 0.1 percent on the week. If that holds, the blue chip index will end a four-week string of losses.
Investors are continuing to assess the possibility of a U.S.-led strike against Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack against its civilians.
U.S. President Barack Obama has received support in his bid to get Congressional authorization for a strike, though he also faces growing pressure at the Group of 20 summit in Russia not to use military force. Russia said it would continue to continue its current support for Syria in case of an attack.
The issue "is a real overhang, especially as it relates to how the U.S. and Russia interact," said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York. "Things could get ugly for riskier assets given the geopolitical uncertainty, though it may be good oil and other commodities."
Energy prices have been among the most volatile on the issue, with investors concerned that military action in the Middle East will weigh on oil supplies. Crude oil has spiked about 3 percent over the past two weeks and rose 1.3 percent.
American Tower Corp rose 4.4 percent to $71.83 after the company agreed to buy Global Tower Partners for $4.8 billion.
Timken Co rose 2 percent to $61.43 after the company's board approved a plan late Thursday to spin off its steel business from its bearings and power transmission operations.
At least three brokers raised their price targets on Infoblox Inc a day after the network security company reported its fourth-quarter results. The stock jumped 7.3 percent to $37.82.
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