CORRECTED-US STOCKS-M&A keeps market adrift; Nasdaq winning streak powers on
(Corrects ninth paragraph to show Forest Labs, not Mylan, as best performer on the S&P 500)
* U.S. home builder sentiment plunges in February
* Coke shares fall after results, weigh on Dow industrials
* Forest Labs shares jump, Actavis to purchase
* Dow flat, S&P up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up on Tuesday, following Wall Street's biggest gain of the year, as merger activity boosted confidence there is still value in the market even as the S&P 500 nears a record high.
The Nasdaq Composite was up for an eighth straight session, a streak not seen since early July.
Economic reports were disappointing, but following a recent pattern, soft data was mostly dismissed by the market and blamed on the weather. U.S. homebuilder confidence suffered its largest one-month drop ever in February, and the New York Federal Reserve's gauge of manufacturing was weaker than expected. Continuación...