* U.S. payrolls surge, jobless rate hits 5-1/2 year low
* AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s raised bid of $106 bln
* Dow down 0.3 pct; S&P down 0.1 pct; Nasdaq down 0.01 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks eased on Friday as an upbeat jobs report was offset by concerns about more violence in Ukraine.
Healthcare shares were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, including U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. Its shares lost 1.4 percent to $30.70 after its sweetened 63 billion pound ($106 billion) bid for AstraZeneca Plc was promptly rejected by the British company Friday.
Adding to market pressure, at least four people were killed and several wounded in running battles between pro-Russian activists and supporters of Ukrainian unity in Odessa.
“Geopolitical tension has come back into the market. You’re going into a weekend and obviously events can unfold so you’ve got profit-taking,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, based in Newark, New Jersey. All three major indexes were on track for gains for the week.
Oil prices rose on the Ukraine worries, lifting shares of Exxon Mobil and other energy companies, which limited some of the S&P 500’s decline.
Before the opening, data showed U.S. job growth picked up at its fastest pace in more than two years in April, suggesting a sharp rebound in economic activity early in the second quarter.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 47.33 points or 0.29 percent, to 16,511.54, the S&P 500 lost 2.54 points or 0.13 percent, to 1,881.14 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.47 points or 0.01 percent, to 4,126.981.
On the results front, LinkedIn Corp shares dropped 6.9 percent to $150.06, a day after the social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below Wall Street’s expectations, the latest company to disappoint on sales this reporting period. Expedia shares fell 4.9 percent to $70.26 also after reporting results.
So far in this earnings season, 75 percent of companies have beaten earnings expectations, above the long-term average, but just 51.3 percent have exceeded revenue expectations, below the long-term average, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Shares of Exxon, which also reported results this week, were up 0.6 percent at $102.01.
Shares of Merck lost ground, however. German drugmaker Bayer AG is nearing an agreement to buy Merck & Co Inc’s consumer healthcare unit, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that could value the business at around $14 billion. Merck shares were down 2.4 percent at $58.17.
Shares of Ares Management LP, the first U.S. private equity firm to go public in about two years, fell to a low of $18 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange after being priced at $19, well below the expected range of $21-23, in a turbulent IPO market. They were last trading at $18.36.
Additional reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski