Blue-chip stocks rose on Friday, sending the Dow to a record, as General Electric Co's expanded share repurchase plan and a stronger-than-expected reading of consumer sentiment tempered worries about the economy's health.
Shares of GE, the world's second-largest company by market capitalization, rose 2 percent, putting the stock among the Dow industrial average's biggest advancers, along with shares of Alcoa Inc. (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Caterpillar Inc.
The report on consumer sentiment followed a government report that showed retail sales suffered their biggest monthly drop in nearly two years in June as the housing market slump took its toll on consumers.
The consumer sentiment number was a little better than expected. So the argument the consumer is being impacted by higher gasoline prices, by housing, by subprime -- we're not seeing evidence, said Mark Bronzo, managing director at Gartmore Separate Accounts, in Irvington, New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 22.52 points, or 0.16 percent, at 13,884.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.54 points, or 0.03 percent, at 1,548.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.58 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,695.15.
Other government data showed inflation creeping higher.
Following Thursday's record-setting run-up, some investors opted to take profits, limiting a broader advance. Shares of Citigroup Inc, which was among Thursday's gainers as financial shares recovered, slipped 0.8 percent to $52.42.
GE shares climbed to $39.74 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Alcoa shares rose 3.6 percent to $46.92, extending gains from Thursday on speculation the aluminum producer could be a takeover target.
GE said it had raised the buyback plan to $14 billion. GE also posted operating profit that matched Wall Street forecasts and said it was exiting the subprime mortgage market.
On the Nasdaq, shares of Amgen Inc. gained almost 2 percent to $56.98 after the biotechnology company announced its board had authorized the additional repurchase of $5 billion of its common stock.
Shares of Caterpillar, which makes heavy equipment, rose 1.6 percent to $85.42 on the NYSE amid optimism about the metals and mining sector.
(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch)