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The Dow sets another all-time high on a mixed day for stocks

The Dow sets another all-time high on a mixed day for stocks
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Justin Lane / EPA/Shutterstock)

Wall Street capped a milestone-setting week Friday with a mixed finish for the major U.S. stock indexes and the second all-time high in two days for the Dow Jones industrial average.

A late sell-off erased modest gains for the Standard & Poor’s 500; for much of the day, the benchmark index had been on track to eke out a record high of its own.

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Losses for technology companies and retailers, two of the market's hottest sectors this year, offset gains by energy and industrial stocks.

“When you have a big up week like we've had, we're at all-time highs, for people to take a little bit of risk off the table going into the weekend isn't a big surprise,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

The S&P 500 index slipped 1.08 points, or 0.04%, to 2,929.67, just under the all-time high it set Thursday. The Dow rose 86.52 points, or 0.3%, to 26,743.50, thanks largely to gains in Boeing and McDonald's.

The Nasdaq composite fell 41.28 points, or 0.5%, to 7,986.96. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 7.87 points, or 0.5%, to 1,712.32.

The Dow and S&P 500 each notched their 10th weekly gain in the last 12 weeks.

Coming off Thursday's record-setting rally, trading was listless much of Friday. A couple of factors may have contributed to the market's late-in-the-session pullback.

Friday was “quadruple witching” day, when options and futures contracts expire, which often results in heavy trading.

Also, on Monday the S&P 500 is changing lineups in the sectors that make up the benchmark index. Technology giants Google and Facebook will join Netflix and 15 other companies in a new communications services sector.

The change forces exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, and other funds that track the S&P 500's sectors to make trades to reflect the index's new alignment.

“There's probably some selling going on in ETFs and mutual funds right now and also probably on Monday,” Frederick said.

Micron Technology was among the biggest decliners in the tech sector, sliding 2.9% to $44.74. The chipmaker said Friday that its profits would be hurt by new tariffs on Chinese imports that go into effect next week.

The trade dispute between the United States and China is set to escalate Monday. That's when an additional 10% tax on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports kicks in. The tariffs will rise to 25% on Jan 1. Beijing has said it would retaliate by imposing tariffs of 5% or 10% on $60 billion of U.S. goods, including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals.

Still, investors have been taking the potential negative impact of the trade dispute in stride this week, drawing comfort from the latest signs that the U.S. economy is on solid ground and driving the market higher.

“Finally, the market has shrugged off all the trade war fears,” said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior markets strategist at Voya Investment Management. “The robustness of the economy just won't be put down.”

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Other sectors fared better Friday. Several airlines notched gains, part of a broad pickup in industrial stocks. American Airlines Group climbed 4.1% to $43.60 after the company said it will raise fees for checked bags. The move came a day after Delta Air Lines announced its own plans to raise bag fees. Delta shares rose 2.5% to $59.61. Southwest Airlines rose 2% to $63.77.

Mazor Robotics surged 10.2% to $58.15 after the surgical guidance system maker agreed to be bought by Medtronic for $1.54 billion.

McDonald's climbed 2.8% to $165.30 after the burger chain raised its quarterly dividend.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.7% to $70.78 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, edged up 0.1% to $78.80 a barrel in London.

The rise in crude oil prices sent many energy stocks higher. Cimarex Energy rose 2.1% to $92.34.

Duke Energy shares slid 1% to $79.82 after floodwaters inundated a large lake near a retired coal-fired power plant, raising concerns of a potential breach.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 3.07%.

The dollar rose to 112.52 yen from 112.48 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1747 from $1.1776. The British pound weakened to $1.3078 from $1.3268 after British Prime Minister Theresa May said talks over exiting the European Union were at an impasse.

Gold fell 0.8% to $1,201.30 an ounce. Silver rose 0.4% to $14.36 an ounce. Copper surged 4.3% to $2.86 a pound.

Heating oil slipped 0.1% to $2.23 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline rose 0.1% to $2.02 a gallon. Natural gas was little changed at $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

This article was originally published at 9:05 a.m.

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