NEW YORK - The Dow Jones industrial average hit a record Friday without much conviction after a choppy day of trading during which investors couldn't make up their minds whether to buy or sell.
The blue-chip index flitted between small gains and losses at least a half-dozen times, and ended up beating its old record, set last week, by just 0.02 percent. It edged up 32.37 points for the day, closing at 16,583.34.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index also eked out a gain Friday but is no higher than it was in early March, after waffling between weekly gains and losses most of that time. The index rose 2.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,878.48 Friday.
The Nasdaq composite rose 20.37 points, or 0.5 percent, Friday, closing at 4,071.87.
"The market is having trouble finding direction here," said David Kelley, JPMorgan Funds' chief global strategist. But he added, "I believe for the rest of the year, a warming economy . . . will push the market up."
On Friday, stocks fell broadly from the open as investors took in the latest corporate earnings reports. It was an odd day in which winners became losers, and vice versa.
Utilities stocks have been in favor lately because of their stable earnings and fat dividends, but investors dumped them Friday. They closed down 1.4 percent, for the biggest drop of the S&P 500's 10 sectors.
By contrast, a few big-name Internet stocks that had been crushed in a recent sell-off managed healthy gains.
Netflix announced it was raising prices for new subscribers of its streaming video service, and investors cheered, lifting its stock $6.89, or 2.14 percent, to close at $328.55. Tesla Motors and LinkedIn, down more than 10 percent since April, rose 2 percent and 2.5 percent.
Mixed messages from earnings reports left investors without clear direction.
CBS fell $1.27, or 2 percent, to $56.74, after reporting late Thursday that its first-quarter revenue had fallen short of analysts' projections. Sales from advertising slumped 12 percent.
Ralph Lauren dipped $3.18, or 2 percent, to $148.81, after forecast for sales for the current quarter disappointed investors.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings rose 43 cents, or 2 percent, to $23.07 after exceeding analysts' expectation for earnings.
And Gap rose $1.28, or 3 percent, to $40.52. The retailer reported strong April sales and issued a forecast for the current quarter that was better than investors expected.