U.S. stocks closed mostly higher Friday, with the S&P 500 index setting a record for the second straight session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average came within 16 points of its record close, while the Nasdaq ended the session slightly lower, but within roughly 50 points of its closing high.
The telecommunications services sector was the largest gainer in the S&P 500, up 1.2 percent, while technology led Friday's declines, shedding 0.23 percent.
The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 20.32 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 18,273. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) added 1.63 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at a record high of 2,122.73. But the Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 2.50 points, or 0.05 percent, to finish at 5,048.
For the week, the Dow added 81 points, or 0.45 percent, and the S&P 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.31 percent. The Nasdaq gained 45 points, or 0.9 percent, for the week.
Data released Friday showed U.S. consumer sentiment tumbled unexpectedly in May, as the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading fell 7.3 points to 88.6 from a final reading of 95.9 in March, the lowest reading since October 2014.
Ahead on next week’s economic calendar, economists await the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting, looking for further clues as to when the central bank plans to raise interest rates, which most economists anticipate will happen in September. The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates at historic lows again last month, following the release of a disappointing gross domestic product report that revealed the U.S. economy grew slower than expected in the first quarter.
Next week is also a big one for the retail sector, with notable earnings announcements from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corporation, Best Buy Co. Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Companies Inc.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) led the Dow higher Friday, adding 1.7 percent two days after the network equipment maker turned in strong quarterly earnings that topped Wall Street estimates. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the largest decliner in the blue-chip index Friday, shedding 0.8 percent.
Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) was one of the largest decliners in the tech sector, dropping 5.5 percent, after the security software maker’s earnings missed Wall Street forecasts, while its outlook for the year came in just short of estimates.
Meanwhile, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares gained around 4.5 percent to close at $613.25, trading above $600 for the first time. The video streaming company's gains followed reports it is in talks with Wasu Media Holding (backed by Alibaba’s Jack Ma) to enter China's online video market, Bloomberg reported.
Shares of El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:LOCO) plunged 15 percent Friday after the Mexican-style chicken chain turned in weaker-than-expected same-store sales.