Business

Markets edge up; Dow, S&P at records

Most investors waiting for earnings reports

Stocks inched past more milestones Friday, delivering the third consecutive record-high close for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and a new high for the Dow Jones industrial average.

The S&P 500 is now up 6.2 percent for the year, while the Dow is up 2.2 percent. The major stock indexes all finished ahead for the week.

On a light day for U.S. economic data, investors mostly focused on companies in the news, such as CarMax, Oracle and Darden Restaurants. They also kept an eye on the developing conflict in Iraq, which pushed oil prices near a nine-month high.

Despite the record-setting moves, it was largely a static day for the stock indexes.

“Generally speaking, any big movements will come when we start earnings season in a couple of weeks,” said Drew Wilson, equity analyst with Fenimore Asset Management. “Until then, it’ll be hand-to-hand combat in the indexes.”

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq composite started off in the green during premarket trading and remained mostly higher all day.

By the last hour of trading, the Dow was on track for a record close. More than half of the 30 companies in the index rose.

The market has been mostly registering small moves, as stocks hover in record territory while questions persist over the resiliency of the U.S. economy and unrest in Iraq and elsewhere.

Absent any major geopolitical developments, investors likely will focus next week on the latest batch of housing data.

“Housing has been, as of late, a less-than-stellar horse in the recovery,” Wilson said. “A lot of people will parse the housing data pretty carefully and that could move the markets.”



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