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

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 7.6 percent to $78.16.

Consumer sentiment rose in early September to the strongest level in three months with growing expectations the economy will improve, data showed. 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.

We're just in for a breather, said John Canally, economist and investment strategist for LPL Financial in Boston.

Canally also noted that volume hasn't been great even with the run-up, but the market could start to get to full volume next week with a busy data calendar.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 12.09 points, or 0.13 percent, at 9,639.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 3.13 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,047.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 4.79 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,088.81.

Shares of Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd were the biggest boost on the Nasdaq after sources said it plans to raise up to $1 billion by listing its Macau assets on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Wynn jumped 5 percent to $65.27.

In the telecom sector, Motorola Inc gained 6.4 percent to $8.48 after RBC raised its price target to $10 from $8 with a rating of sector perform.

Delta Air Lines Inc was up 2.2 percent at $8.28 after Japanese media reported the world's biggest carrier is in talks to invest in struggling Japan Airlines Corp <9205.T> and become its top shareholder.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)