US STOCKS-S&P 500 sets record high but fails to hold 2,000 mark
* Biotechs help lift S&P above milestone 2,000
* Hope for European stimulus lifts financials
* Data on service sector, housing market below forecasts
* Indexes up: Dow 0.44 pct, S&P 0.48 pct, Nasdaq 0.41 pct (Updates to close)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 was unable to hold the 2,000 mark after moving above the milestone level for the first time on Monday, but still managed to close at a record high, buoyed by financials and biotechnology stocks.
The significance of the milestone was more psychological than fundamental, and it represents the high point of a nearly six-year rally that has boosted retirement accounts for Americans from Wall Street to Main Street, though the gains have largely benefited wealthier Americans. On a total-return basis the S&P 500 has more than tripled from its 2009 low hit during the financial crisis.
The day's gains were broad, with each of the 10 primary sectors on the benchmark S&P index advancing.
"Psychologically it is somewhat important to close above 2,000 but it only becomes of increasing importance if we see the markets vacillate around this number for an extended period," said Sean Lynch, managing director of global equity strategy for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Omaha, Nebraska. Continuación...