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Associated Press photos
Trader David O’Day works the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on a record-setting Friday.

Dow closes at highest ever

S&P 500 climbs to set record for 3rd straight day

Kevin Walsh, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, watches as S&P 500 set a record Friday.

Stocks inched past more milestones Friday, delivering the third consecutive record-high close for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and a new high for the Dow Jones industrial average.

The S&P 500 is now up 6.2 percent for the year, while the Dow is up 2.2 percent. The major stock indexes all finished ahead for the week.

On a light day for U.S. economic data, investors mostly focused on companies in the news, such as CarMax, Oracle and Darden Restaurants. They also kept an eye on the developing conflict in Iraq, which pushed oil prices near a nine-month high.

Despite the record-setting moves, it was largely a static day for the stock indexes.

“Generally speaking, any big movements will come when we start earnings season in a couple of weeks,” said Drew Wilson, equity analyst with Fenimore Asset Management. “Until then, it’ll be hand-to-hand combat in the indexes.”

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq composite started off in the green during premarket trading and remained mostly higher all day.

By the last hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was on track for a record close. More than half of the 30 companies in the index rose, raising the possibility that the Dow might breach the 17,000 mark soon.

“If the economy continues to grow the way it’s growing and the Federal Reserve remains as supportive as it is, I think we have more highs to achieve before the year is out,” said Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at OppenheimerFunds.

All told, the S&P 500 index rose 3.39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,962.87. That’s slightly above the prior day’s record close of 1,959.48. On Wednesday, the index notched another high at 1,956.98. It has risen five out of the last six weeks.

The Dow added 25.62 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,947.08. The Dow’s previous high was June 10, when it closed at 16,945.92.

The Nasdaq composite gained 8.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,368.04. The Nasdaq is still well below its dot-com era peak of just over 5,000.

U.S. government bonds prices changed little. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.61 percent from 2.62 percent late Thursday.

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