The Dow and S&P 500 rose on Wednesday after better-than-expected regional factory data lifted hopes that the recession is moderating and prompted investors to buy some shares of manufacturers such as United Technologies and 3M Co .

United Technologies ranked among the Dow's top advancers, climbing 3.5 percent to $47.13 after a report that showed manufacturing activity in New York State contracted less severely in April after tumbling to a record low in March. The New York Federal Reserve Bank's manufacturing data helped to offset profit concerns.

However, the Nasdaq fell on Wednesday as a lack of clarity in Intel Corp's revenue forecast raised worry about corporate profits.

Intel's stock lost 3.8 percent to $15.41 despite beating quarterly expectations after the chip maker ruled out clear guidance, as there is still too much market and economic turbulence to call a precise projection for the second quarter.

There's mixed signals, said Terry Morris, senior vice president and senior equity manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company in Reading, Pennsylvania. It's just a symbol of what everyone else is going through.

These businesses don't know what is coming through the door in the next few months -- they are as uncertain as you or I are.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 63.00 points, or 0.80 percent, to 7,983.18, after earlier rising 1 percent to a session high at 8,009.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 3.42 points, or 0.41 percent, to 844.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 9.10 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,616.62.

The S&P 500 is up nearly 25 percent from its bear market closing low on March 9 as it attempts its sixth-straight week of gains, but it's still down about 7 percent for the year.

Manufacturer 3M Co gained 2 percent to $54.02 and gave another major boost to the blue-chip Dow industrials, while aircraft maker Boeing added 2 percent $37.79.

However, the New York state manufacturing data contradicted a separate Federal Reserve report showing that industrial output at the nation's factories, mines and refineries dropped 1.5 percent in March.

Procter & Gamble

also helped give the Dow one of its biggest boosts, adding 3 percent to $48.70 after the company raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent.

Echoing the sentiment from Intel was Wal-Mart Stores Inc Chief Executive Mike Duke, who said he still saw a lot of stress in the economy and did not anticipate a quick end to the recession, driving an S&P index of retailers' stocks <.RLX> down 1.5 percent.

Shares of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, slipped 0.2 percent to $51.02.

Shares of some department store chains fell, with Macy's Inc down 5.2 percent at $11.37 and Nordstrom down 6 percent at $19.71.

Elsewhere among consumer stocks, Dow component McDonald's lost 1.8 percent to $53.82 after rival fast-food chain Burger King Holdings Inc said it saw a surprising drop in customer visits to its restaurants in March.

Burger King shares tumbled 16.4 percent to $18.96.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)