The major U.S. stock indexes traded mixed on Friday as traders digested October's surprisingly strong manufacturing growth, with the Dow and the S&P 500 not far from record highs reached earlier this week, Reuters reported.
American International Group Inc fell 6.3 percent to $48.39, making it the S&P 500's biggest loser, a day after the insurer reported third-quarter earnings that slightly beat expectations. However, analysts expected better results in the insurer's consumer lines business and said it benefited from a favorable tax rate this most recent quarter.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of U.S. factory activity rose to 56.4 in October, topping economists' expectations with its best reading since April 2011.
This is nominally a positive reflection of the U.S. economy, but the stronger-than-expected figure complicates investors' expectations for the timing of when the Federal Reserve may begin to trim its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. The Fed's stimulus program has given buyers a reason to invest in riskier assets like stocks.
Equities have retreated from recent highs since Wednesday after the Federal Reserve, in its latest meeting, removed a sentence from its statement noting tight credit conditions. That raised expectations that the central bank may be ready to start trimming its bond purchases as early as December.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.50 points or 0.16 percent, to 15,570.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 dipped just 0.35 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to 1,756.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 5.85 points or 0.15 percent, to 3,913.86.
Shares of Chevron Corp fell 2.2 percent to $117.33, accounting for about 14 points of negative drag on the Dow Jones industrial average, after the energy company reported disappointing results on Friday. Chevron's third-quarter revenue came in below expectations.
Boeing Co shares gained 1.4 percent to $132.37 and helped support the Dow industrials. On Thursday, Boeing said it would increase production of its 737 aircraft to 47 planes per month by 2017 from 38 now - a surprising move that analysts said boded well for the U.S. company, its suppliers and airlines