US STOCKS-Wall St little changed after claims, ISM data
* Initial claims rise more than expected
* ISM rises, but shy of expectations
* Google dividend takes effect
* Indexes off: Dow 0.07 pct, S&P 0.11 pct, Nasdaq 0.37 pct (Updates to open, adds ISM data)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 holding near its recent record, as investors exercised restraint before Friday's employment report and data suggested modest improvement in the economy.
Initial weekly claims for state unemployment benefits increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, above the 317,000 forecast. Claims for the previous week were revised to show 1,000 fewer applications than earlier reported and the underlying trend continued to point to some strength in the labor market.
The Institute for Supply Management said its services sector index rose to 53.1 in March, slightly below expectations for a read of 53.5 but comfortably ahead of the February read of 51.6.
Investors may be hesitant to make big bets ahead of Friday's payrolls report, as they look for evidence that recent weather-related weakness in the economy has passed. However, while recent reports have shown a recovery from earlier this year, when a harsh winter hurt some data, they have not markedly improved over last year. Continuación...