U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday as positive data and a rosier outlook from FedEx supported hopes for economic recovery, but Wall Street struggled for traction after five days of gains.

FedEx Corp buoyed the S&P 500 index and pushed industrial shares higher after it said profits in both its current and subsequent quarters would be higher than previously expected, citing an improving economy and stable fuel prices. Its shares surged 6.7 percent to $77.54.

Data showed consumer sentiment rose in early September to the strongest level in three months with growing expectations the economy will improve. Investors have been looking for any signs of life from the consumer as anemic spending remains one of the biggest challenges facing a strong recovery.

Surprisingly strong industrial output and other economic data from China also underscored optimism that the global economy is pulling out of a slump.

But stocks were hampered by profit taking after five days of gains and the longest winning streak since November.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 2.80 points, or 0.03 percent, to 9,629.98. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 2.27 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,046.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> put on 1.92 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,085.94.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)