US STOCKS-Futures flat with S&P record high within view

Wed Apr 3, 2013 8:11am EDT
 
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* Data on U.S. private employment, services sector on tap

* Zynga rallies, to offer casino games in Britain

* Futures up: Dow 6 pts, S&P 1.1 pts, Nasdaq 0.25 pt

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited the latest round of economic data and the S&P 500 edged even closer to an all-time intraday high.

The S&P has been within striking distance of its record level of 1,576.09 for the past several sessions, and inched to within three points of it on Tuesday before pulling back. While the index ended at a new closing high, a late-session paring of market gains prompted investors to question the strength of the recent rally.

Market movements may be slight until the release of the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, as there are few major trading catalysts before then. The S&P has gained less than 0.1 percent so far this week.

"We're going to be quiet before the payroll report, with defensive sectors favored and any action likely coming from whether an overseas market moves dramatically," said Rick Fier, director of trading at Conifer Securities in New York.

Nonetheless, economic data will be scoured for signs of whether the economy continues to steadily improve. The ADP national employment report is scheduled for release at 8:15 EDT (1215 GMT) and is seen showing 200,000 private sector jobs were added in March, slightly more than the previous month. A strong ADP report may raise expectations for Friday's jobs report.   Continued...