* McDonald’s down after revealing turnaround plan
* AMC, Cognizant hit record high after results
* U.S. factory orders post largest gain in eight months
* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
May 4 (Reuters) - Wall Street was up on Monday morning as healthcare stocks rose for a second straight session and new orders for U.S. factory goods recorded their biggest increase in eight months in March.
Eight of the 10 S&P sectors were higher, with the health index gaining 0.8 percent. The Nasdaq biotech index was up 0.8 percent.
New orders for U.S.-made goods rose a higher-than-expected 2.1 percent in March.
Over the past two weeks, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has moved an average of 17.79 points daily, wider than the 12.43 point range in early March. The swings have amplified on mixed economic signals.
The payroll report for April is scheduled for Friday and about 213,000 jobs are expected to have been added in the month, after an add of 126,000 in March.
“The main event this week is the April unemployment numbers and that’s going to be the main driver for the markets,” said Mohannad Aama, managing director at Beam Capital Management in New York.
Aama, however, reckons that the strong gains in the market in the past few weeks may be erased as a strong jobs number could put a June rate hike back into play.
At 11:27 a.m. EDT (1527 GMT ) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 78.54 points, or 0.44 percent, at 18,102.6 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 23.99 points, or 0.48 percent, at 5,029.38.
The S&P 500 was up 9.24 points, or 0.44 percent, at 2,117.53, and earlier in the session topped its record high closing price.
McDonald’s shares fell 0.5 percent to $97.29 after the company laid out initial plans for lure back customers and boost sales.
Cisco inched up 0.3 percent to $29.23 after the company said Chief Executive John Chambers would step down to become executive chairman and 17-year company veteran Chuck Robbins will become CEO, effective July 26.
AMC Networks gained as much as 5.8 percent to hit a record high of $80.70 after its profit topped analysts’ expectations as strong demand for its original programming boosted ad sales in its domestic business.
Cognizant rose as much as 10.8 percent to hit an all-time high of $65.55 after the IT services provider reported a better-than-expected rise in revenue and raised its full-year forecast.
Spark Therapeutics fell 9.3 percent to $53.05, while Bluebird Bio slipped 3.8 percent to $133.64 after a study showed that gene therapy that helped restore sight appeared to wane with time, a sign the field may not be able to cure ailments with a single course of treatment.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,981 to 930, for a 2.13-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,807 issues rose and 808 fell for a 2.24-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 9 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 42 new highs and 18 new lows. (Editing by Savio D‘Souza)