U.S. stock indexes spent Friday mostly drifting between tiny gains and losses, but the small moves were enough to nudge the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its second record high in two days.
The Dow Jones industrial average also notched a gain for the second day in a row. The Nasdaq bucked the trend, closing slightly lower.
Utilities stocks were among the biggest gainers as investors weighed a mix of U.S. economic data and corporate earnings news. The price of U.S. oil fell slightly, ending a second week in a row nearly flat just under $60 a barrel.
Despite the latest milestone, it was a mostly listless day on Wall Street, as traders appeared content to hold off on major moves following Thursday’s big rally.
“Often, in fact, there’s a bit of selling pressure in these situations as many people want to book some profits after these days,” said JJ Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist.
The Dow rose 20.32, or 0.1 percent, to 18,272.56. That’s within 16 points of its record set on March 2.
The S&P 500 index rose 1.63, or 0.1 percent, to 2,122.73. The Nasdaq fell 2.50, or 0.1 percent, to 5,048.29. The three indexes are up for the month and year.
Trading got off to a sluggish start early Friday and remained mostly muted, with the major indexes hovering near their prior-day totals.
Separate reports on Friday offered a mixed assessment of U.S. manufacturing. The Federal Reserve said factory activity in New York increased slightly in May, suggesting that manufacturers are beginning to adapt to the challenges caused by a stronger dollar, lower oil prices and restrained consumer spending. Meanwhile, U.S. industrial output fell for the fifth straight month in April. The trend suggests that weakness in manufacturing and mining are weighing heavily on the economy.
Other reports this week have also shown diverging trends for the U.S. economy. The Commerce Department’s U.S. retail sales report for April fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. But the latest figures on applications for unemployment aid and inflation were more encouraging.
“This week, on balance, the economic reports have been a little soggy,” said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. “We’re muddling through and the market is just fine with that.”
Investors are gauging how well the U.S. economy is doing as they try to anticipate when the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates for the first time in more than six years. Many economists anticipate the central bank won’t increase rates before September.
Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by utilities stocks. The sector remains down 6.7 percent this year. Financials fared the worst. The sector is down 0.3 percent for the year.
Netflix was among the big gainers in the S&P 500, climbing 4.5 percent following a published report saying that the video streaming service is in talks to begin doing business in China. The stock rose $26.40 to $613.25.
Companies reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings or outlooks were among the big gainers Friday. Darling Ingredients climbed $1.55, or 11 percent, to $15.64.
Others failed to live up to expectations, however.
Dillard’s reported weak first-quarter financial results, which pulled the department store chain’s shares down 7 percent. The stock lost $8.74 to $115.46.
Keurig Green Mountain sank 8.6 percent as investors worried that the company’s new cold-drink machine is priced too high. The stock lost $8.81 to $94.26.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 19 cents and closed at $59.69 a barrel in New York. U.S. oil ended last week at $59.39 and the week before at $59.15. Brent crude for July delivery, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 11 cents to close at $66.81 in London. The June Brent contract expired Thursday at $66.59.