S&P Sets New High; Dow Tops 13,900 For First Time

Wall Street ended an extraordinary and record-setting week Friday by surging higher again, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index past a trading high set in March 2000 and thrusting the Dow Jones industrial past 13,900 for the first time.

Both the S&P and the Dow logged record closes for the second straight day and the Dow's gains put the blue chip index within about 70 points of 14,000. But the technology-laden Nasdaq composite index lagged both in Friday's session and in the broader recovery from the dot-com collapse at the start of the decade.

In a week that saw the Dow swing more than 450 points and rise 283 points in Thursday's session alone, investors grappled with unease over soured subprime loans and the broader economy before casting off such concerns and pushing higher amid signs the consumer might yet again pull through and give Wall Street reason to climb higher.

On Friday, investors still seemed upbeat about earnings and takeover activity and appeared only slightly disappointed by the Commerce Department's report that retail sales dropped 0.9 percent last month, following a revised 1.5 percent jump in May. The June figure was weaker than anticipated and marked the steepest decline in nearly two years.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 44.30, or 0.32 percent, to 13,906.03 after reaching a new trading high of 13,932.29.

Relief that Alcoa won't pursue a deal with Alcan Inc. helped the Dow Friday, as did solid quarterly results from GE, which sent the conglomerate's stock above the $40 mark and to a five-year high.

Broader stock indicators also advanced. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.64, or 0.30 percent, to 1,552.34. The index late in Friday's session set a fresh trading high of 1,555.10, topping a previous record of 1,553.11 set in March 2000.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 5.27, or 0.20 percent, to 2,707.00 after spending much of the session moderately lower. Though the Nasdaq was trading at levels not seen since early 2001, the index remains well short of its closing record of 5,048.62, set in March 2000 when it was bloated by the late 1990s tech boom.