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By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Dow and the S&P 500 inched higher to touch intraday records on Friday and were poised for a second straight week of gains, buoyed by gains in Walt Disney, although a drop in consumer sentiment kept gains in check.
Walt Disney climbed 1.43% as one of the biggest boosts to both the Dow Industrials and benchmark S&P 500 after its profit topped market expectations as its streaming services added more customers than expected and pandemic-hit U.S. theme parks returned to profitability.
Gains were muted, however, after the University of Michigan said its preliminary consumer sentiment index fell to 70.2, its lowest level in a decade, in the first half of this month from a final reading of 81.2 in July, suggesting the Delta variant of the coronavirus was impacting consumers.
“The market appears to be in wait-and-see mode at new highs,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
“We do still have a lot of variables such as the Delta variant … but they are not hitting the tape yet.”
U.S. stocks have managed to slowly grind to new highs over the past few sessions as investor confidence in economic recovery was bolstered by a strong earnings season, the passage of a large infrastructure bill and data showing inflation may be increasing at a slower pace than feared.
In the wake of new data from earlier this week that showed consumer price increases slowed in July, while producer prices posted their biggest annual rise in more than a decade, investors are now looking ahead to the meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this month for cues on policy.
In recent days, several Fed officials said it is nearly time for the central bank to begin pulling back on its monetary support, including the tapering of its asset purchases.
DoorDash Inc rose 1.93%, reversing earlier losses after the food-delivery firm’s loss widened more than expected in the second quarter.
Airbnb Inc slipped 0.12% after it flagged a hit to its current-quarter bookings by the Delta variant and a slowing pace of U.S. vaccination.
The S&P 500 posted 55 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 128 new lows.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Aurora Ellis)