The S&P 500 inched higher on Friday to close at the highest since before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, continuing a pattern of steady gains on signs of U.S. economic recovery.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 2.27 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,982.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 2.28 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1,365.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 6.77 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,963.75.

(Reporting By Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)