* Threat of imminent action against Syria fades
* U.S. consumer spending barely rises, inflation weak
* GE to spin off consumer lending ops of GE Capital - WSJ
* Salesforce.com jumps after results, outlook
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on Friday, with the S&P500 index likely to end August with its worst monthly showing in over a year as the threat of an imminent Western military strike on Syria faded slightly.
U.S.-led efforts to punish Damascus for the use of chemical weapons against civilians were dealt a blow when Britain said it would not join any military action after the government lost a parliamentary vote on the issue.
However, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said even after the rejection of military action by Britain, the U.S. will continue to seek an international coalition to act on Syria and France said it still backed action.
A U.S. official said the White House plans on Friday to release an unclassified version of an intelligence assessment of a chemical weapons attack last week in Syria.
Meanwhile U.S. economic data showed consumer spending rose only 0.1 percent and inflation was tame in July, with a price index for consumer spending up 0.1 percent.
“You are getting a lot of push pull from the Syria thing - will they, won’t they - and then the data,” said John Canally investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston.
“This one fits in the category of another soft report and it is going to give the Fed a problem because the economy is going to be weak and yet they are going to taper anyway.”
Other data showed the pace of business activity in the U.S. Midwest increased in August, as the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer rose to 53.0 from 52.3 in July, matching economists’ expectations.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment slipped to 82.1 in August from 85.1 in July, but managed to top economists’ expectations for a final read of 80.5.
The benchmark S&P500 stock index is down 1.7 percent for the week and is down 3.0 percent for the month, putting it on pace for its worst performance since May 2012.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23.26 points or 0.16 percent, to 14,817.69, the S&P 500 lost 2.3 points or 0.14 percent, to 1,635.87 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.905 points or 0.41 percent, to 3,605.398.
Volume is expected to be light on Friday ahead of the extended Labor Day holiday weekend.
General Electric Co shares rose 1.5 percent to $23.45 after the Wall Street Journal reported the conglomerate plans to spin off the U.S. consumer lending operations of its finance arm GE Capital.
Salesforce.com Inc jumped 11.5 percent to $48.69 and was the best performer in the S&P500 index after the company raised its fiscal 2014 sales outlook after reporting better-than-expected revenue and earnings.
Apache Corp climbed 7.5 percent to $84.55 after the oil and gas producer said it was selling a 33 percent stake in its Egypt oil and gas business for $3.1 billion to state-owned Chinese oil giant Sinopec Group.
Omnivision Technologies Inc tumbled 12.1 percent to $16.18 after the chipmaker forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely below expectations as rising competition and a slowdown of U.S. smartphone sales led to an inventory pile-up.