US STOCKS-Wall St falls on weak data but S&P 500 still near record

Wed Apr 3, 2013 12:03pm EDT
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* ADP employment report comes in below expectations

* Zynga to offer casino games in Britain, stock rallies

* Indexes down: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after disappointing economic data, but the S&P 500 index hung near an all-time intraday high.

Disappointment came from a jobs report that showed less-than-expected hirings in the private sector in March, while a services sector index also came in below expectations.

Investors expect market movements to be slight before Friday's release of the broader U.S. non-farm payrolls report for March from the Labor Department.

Momentum for the market to move higher remains, strategists say. The S&P has been near an intraday record level of 1,576.09 for the past several sessions, inching to within three points on Tuesday before pulling back. The index still ended at a new closing high.

"Investors now appear to be focused on the potential for continuing global economic growth in the year ahead," said Stuart T. Freeman, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. The firm raised its year-end S&P 500 target range to 1,575-1,625 from an initial target of 1,525-1,575.   Continued...