* ADP employment report comes in below expectations
* Zynga rallies, to offer casino games in Britain
* ConAgra falls after results, Monsanto rises
* Indexes down: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday
following a pair of weak data points, though 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
about 0.1 percent so far this week.
The latest ADP National Employment Report showed 158,000
private sector jobs were added in March, far less than
economists had expected, though the February report was revised
upward by 39,000.
The Institute for Supply Management's March services sector
index came in at 54.4, below expectations for a reading of 55.8
and below last month's 56.0.
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. It is currently 0.5 percent away from its record peak.
"There are risks out there, but we've been creeping up
quietly for a long time with an impressive cumulative gain, and
that will continue so long as we don't have a crisis in the
offing," said David Kelly, chief market strategist for JPMorgan
Funds in New York.
While data has largely been positive and helped to propel
the equity market in the first quarter, a few disappointments
have made investors cautious. The ISM manufacturing index on
Monday came in below expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 29.84
points, or 0.20 percent, at 14,632.17. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 5.03 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,565.22.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.54 points, or 0.17
percent, at 3,249.32.
The S&P 500 has advanced more than 10 percent this year, and
last week, broke above its 2007 closing high, a level it
exceeded on Tuesday. The Dow first broke above its 2007 record
on March 5.
In company news, Zynga Inc surged 11 percent to
$3.40 after the company said it would begin offering poker and
casino-style games in Britain in partnership with Bwin.party
ConAgra Foods Inc fell 1.3 percent to $35.09 after
reporting third-quarter earnings that fell 57 percent, though
Monsanto Co rose 1.2 percent to $104.93 after
raising its full-year profit forecast.
Issues in the euro zone will continue to be in focus a day
after Cyprus concluded a bailout deal. The plan, which still
requires ratification, would mean the country receives a 10
billion euro loan and that it has until 2018 to carry out
measures to shore up its finances. The country's finance
minister resigned after concluding the deal.
While investors have largely used any market decline as a
buying opportunity, the situation in Cyprus has been a major
source of market uncertainty in recent weeks.