US STOCKS-S&P 500 tops 2,000 for first time in broad advance
* Biotechs lead S&P above 2,000 for first time
* Hope for ECB stimulus action lifts financials
* Data on service sector, housing market below forecasts
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.6 pct (Updates to market open, with S&P 500 topping 2000)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 stock index rose to an intraday record on Monday, topping 2,000 for the first time in a broad rally led by financial and biotechnology stocks.
Major indexes opened higher, with the benchmark index hitting a record early in the session, though it didn't cross the 2,000 milestone until shortly after 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) Equities were boosted by corporate merger activity and growing hopes for more monetary stimulus in European markets.
Biotechs rallied after Roche Holding AG agreed to buy InterMune Inc for $8.3 billion in cash, the latest vote of confidence in a sector that many, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, are worried is overvalued.
InterMune jumped 36 percent to $73.00, with the Nasdaq Biotech index up 2.4 percent. Gilead Sciences and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals were the S&P 500's top two biggest percentage gainers, both up about 2.5 percent. Continued...