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Dow inches to record as after long day Friday

Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 11:35 a.m. CST

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average hit a record on Friday, but without much conviction after a choppy day of trading during which investors couldn’t make up their minds whether to buy or sell.

The blue-chip index flitted between small gains and losses at least a dozen times, and ended up beating its old record set last week by less than 2.5 points, or just 0.02 percent.

“The market is having trouble finding direction here,” said David Kelley, JPMorgan Funds’ chief global strategist. But he added, “I believe for the rest of the year, a warming economy ... will push the market up.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also eked out a gain, but is no higher than it was in early March, after waffling between weekly gains and losses most of that time.

On Friday, stocks fell broadly from the open as investors took in the latest corporate earnings reports. It was an odd day in which winners became losers, and vice versa.

Stocks of utilities have been in favor lately because of their stable earnings and fat dividends, but investors dumped them Friday, and they closed 1.4 percent lower. That was the biggest drop of the S&P 500’s ten sectors.

By contrast, a few big-name Internet stocks that had been crushed in a recent sell-off in that industry managed healthy gains.

Netflix announced it was raising prices for new subscribers of its streaming video service and investors cheered, lifting its stock 2 percent. Tesla Motors and LinkedIn, both down more than 10 percent since April, rose 2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

The Dow edged up 32.37 points for the day, or 0.2 percent, to 16,583.34. That narrowly beat its previous record high of 16,580.84 set on April 30.

The S&P 500 index rose 2.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878.48. The Nasdaq composite rose 20.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,071.87.

Mixed messages from earnings reports left investors without clear direction.

CBS fell $1.27, or 2 percent, to $56.74 after reporting late Thursday that its first-quarter revenue had fallen short of analysts’ projections. Sales from advertising slumped 12 percent.

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