The Dow and S&P 500 stock indexes were little changed on Friday after a mixed bag of economic data, while the Nasdaq fell, hurt by disappointing results from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.
New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods dropped by their biggest amount in seven months, hit by a plunge in commercial aircraft orders, and new home sales rose less than expected. Consumer sentiment, however, hit its highest since January 2008.
New home sales failed to meet raised expectations, marking back-to-back disappointments for housing sales in August, said John J. Canally Jr., investment strategist at LPL Financial in Boston.
Market reaction to this data has been muted relative to the sell-off in equities seen after (Thursday's) disappointing existing home sales report.
The Nasdaq was hit by a more than 15 percent decline in shares of Research In Motion Ltd,
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 1.51 points, or 0.02 percent, to 9,708.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 0.76 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,050.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 7.66 points, or 0.36 percent, to 2,099.95.
Stocks have rallied lately partly on expectations of a strong bounce back from a deep recession that started in December 2007, but recent data has tested those hopes.
A pledge from world leaders at the Group of 20 nations summit to keep emergency economic supports in place until a robust recovery takes hold helped stem recent fears that government efforts to support financial markets would end anytime soon.
The G20 rich and developing countries, holding a two-day summit in Pittsburgh, will aim to implement new rules by the end of 2012 to improve bank capital and discourage excessive leverage.
(Additional reporting by Julie Haviv; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)