The Dow industrials rose on Thursday on Boeing's strength, while the S&P 500 slipped after a round of economic data and corporate results.
Earlier in the session, the Dow climbed as high as 10,773.88 -- its highest in 17 months.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's index showed factory activity expanded more than expected in March, although new orders fell. Earlier, the government said consumer prices were flat in February, backing up the Federal Reserve's commitment to keep its benchmark interest rate ultra low for a while. A separate report showed a dip in new claims for jobless benefits in the latest week.
The data are a net positive since it reinforced the idea that the Fed won't be raising rates soon, said Tom Nyheim, portfolio manager of Christiana Bank & Trust in Greenville, Delaware.
What's limiting us right now is the fact that we've just been up so much lately.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 32.12 points, or 0.30 percent, to 10,765.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> slipped 1.77 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,164.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 1.24 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,390.33.
Both Nike Inc
Shares of FedEx gained 0.5 percent to $90.27. The Dow Jones Transportation Average <.DJT>, which includes FedEx, rose 0.4 percent.
But Intel Corp
Another pocket of strength came from the healthcare sector, with health insurers' shares gaining as investors welcomed clarity on the timing for a vote on the healthcare reform bill. U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said momentum was growing for the legislation despite solid Republican opposition. The U.S. House of Representatives is on track to vote on the bill on Sunday.
It's almost a 'buy the news' type of thing. People have been playing it from the short side, and now we've got a little more clarity and the cover is taking place today, said Craig Miller, market maker in healthcare trading at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore.
The Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index <.HMO> rose 3.2 percent.
The Dow marked a seven-day winning streak in Wednesday's session, its longest since an eight-session run in August 2009. Volume, however, has been tepid ahead of key options expirations on Thursday and Friday, when four different types of options and futures contracts expire in a convergence known as quadruple witching.
(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jan Paschal)