US STOCKS-Wall St up slightly ahead of jobs report
* Initial jobless claims climb more than expected
* Factory orders fall for sixth straight month
* AbbVie to buy Pharmacyclics for about $21 bln
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.18 pct, Nasdaq 0.39 pct (Updates to afternoon, adds commentary)
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were modestly higher on Thursday after two days of declines as investors held back on big bets ahead of Friday's jobs report, which is expected to be a big factor in influencing the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike.
The S&P and the Dow hit records and the Nasdaq surpassed 5,000 at the start of the week after a strong February performance for U.S. stocks.
"People are taking a wait-and-see approach ahead of the jobs report," said Paul Brigandi, managing director of portfolio management at Direxion Funds in New York.
European news was some help to U.S. markets on Thursday but higher-than-expected U.S. jobless claims took "a little bit of the wind out of the sails," Brigandi said. Continuación...