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US: Wall St flat after record-setting week; futures dip late

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[NEW YORK] The Dow industrials ended at a record high on Friday and major indexes closed a third consecutive week of gains as upbeat economic data and the start of earnings season gave investors confidence the current rally has legs.

Consumer stocks led declines on the S&P 500 while the financial sector posted a less than 0.2 per cent drop, even as Wells Fargo, whose profits fell in the second quarter, fell 2.5 per cent to US$47.71 to rank as the largest weight on the S&P.

But expectations for S&P earnings ticked up to a 4.7 per cent decline from a view of a 5-per cent drop earlier in the week, cementing hopes that an earnings contraction bottomed in the first quarter.

Adding to investor confidence, US retail sales rose more than expected in June, bolstering views that economic growth picked up in the second quarter.

"When you go into earnings season with negative bias in the market it bodes well for stocks. Any positive surprises will force shorts to cover and gives an upbeat tone," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.14 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 18,516.55, the S&P 500 lost 2.01 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 2,161.74 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.47 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,029.59.

The Dow closed at a record high and joined the S&P 500 in posting fresh intraday historic highs. The three major indexes closed their third week of gains, a period in which the S&P has advanced more than 6 per cent.

Equity futures fell late in the day after reports of a military coup under way in Turkey, while market reaction on Friday to a Thursday attack in France that killed more than 80 people was limited to declines in travel and leisure company shares.

Some investors have warned the US equity market, trading at or near record highs, is priced to perfection and is vulnerable to unpredictable political or economic headlines.

An ETF that follows the Turkish market dropped sharply near the end of the session and was down 6.9 per cent after the bell.

Herbalife jumped 9.9 per cent to US$65.25 after the weight-loss products maker agreed to pay US$200 million and change the way it does business to avoid being labeled a pyramid scheme by regulators.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.20-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.12-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 77 new highs and 18 new lows.

About 6.1 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, below the 7.8 billion daily average over the past 20 sessions.

REUTERS