US STOCKS-Wall St edges up after data, S&P 500 holds at record

Wed Apr 2, 2014 1:14pm EDT

* ADP employment below estimate, prior month revised up

* Factory orders rebound in February

* MannKind shares soar as diabetes drug gets FDA backing

* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct (Updates to afternoon, changes byline)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks inched higher on Wednesday, pushing the S&P 500 to another intraday record, after data suggested the economy was slowly building momentum after a winter-related pullback earlier in the year.

Eight of 10 S&P 500 sectors were in positive territory, though gains were limited following a recent push to new highs.

U.S. private employers added 191,000 workers in March, slightly below the 195,000 forecast, while gains in the prior month were revised to 178,000 from a previously reported 139,000, signaling that a winter-related impact on job growth earlier this year was easing.

Separately, orders for manufactured goods jumped 1.6 percent in February, the biggest rise since September and above a 1.2 percent estimate. January's orders were revised to show a larger 1.0 percent drop instead of the previously reported 0.7 percent fall.

"We are in positive economic data territory but to continue to make new highs, we are going to have to see improvement, not just good, but great and that is why we are holding tight here," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Shares of MannKind Corp soared 76.4 percent to $7.09. U.S. health advisers recommended approval of the company's inhaled diabetes drug on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.59 points, or 0.09 percent, to 16,547.2, the S&P 500 gained 3.99 points, or 0.21 percent, to 1,889.51, after hitting an intraday record high of 1,890.80. The Nasdaq Composite added 4.942 points, or 0.12 percent, to 4,272.982.

"There is some psychology involved in moving from one quarter to next. You had a lot of rotation in the first, so I think managers are looking forward to" moving on, said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist, Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.

Fertilizer company Agrium Inc said a late start to spring and railroad-related backlogs will result in first-quarter earnings per share just above breakeven. Its shares lost 1.5 percent to $96.08.

In another weather-related announcement, Delta Air Lines said flight cancellations lowered its March quarter profit by $55 million. Shares, however, were up 1.1 percent at $36.16.

Apollo Education Group Inc tumbled 9.2 percent to $31.94. It reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and said it had received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General seeking information about the operations of the Northeast region of the University of Phoenix.

DFC Global Corp gained 5.8 percent to $9.50. The pawn and payday lender said it would be acquired by private equity firm Lone Star Funds for about $1.3 billion, including debt. (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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