US STOCKS-Futures point to flat open, S&P near record high

Wed Apr 3, 2013 8:55am EDT
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* ADP employment report comes in below expectations

* Zynga rallies, to offer casino games in Britain

* Dow down 5 pts, S&P up 0.4 pts, Nasdaq up 1.75 pt

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were poised to open little changed on Wednesday as investors brushed off a weak reading on private sector employment and the S&P 500 remained within striking distance of an all-time intraday high.

Investors expect market movements to be slight ahead of the release Friday of the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report, with few major trading catalysts before then. The S&P has gained less than 0.1 percent so far this week.

Futures were little changed despite the latest ADP National Employment Report, which showed 158,000 private sector jobs were added in March, far less than economists had expected. The February report was revised upward by 39,000.

"People aren't worried about employment compared to the overall macro outlook, and they have a general idea that the economy is improving," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York. "That should allow us to hold firm."

The S&P has been near 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, though it ended at a new closing high.   Continued...