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U.S. stocks edge lower in afternoon trading a day after record

A Wall Street sign in front of the

A Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange on April 22, 2010. Credit: AP

U.S. stocks hovered slightly below their record highs Friday afternoon, having spent much of the day drifting lower. Investors had their eye on new data on the U.S. manufacturing sector and the latest corporate earnings news.

Financial stocks were among the biggest decliners.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell five points to 18,246 as of 1:03 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell one point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,119. The Nasdaq composite declined six points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,043.

THE QUOTE: "This week, on balance, the economic reports have been a little soggy," said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. "We're muddling through and the market is just fine with that."

SECTOR VIEW: Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by utilities stocks.

UNAPPETIZING OUTLOOK: El Pollo Loco Holdings tumbled 14.3 percent after the restaurant operator reported better-than-expected financial results, but disappointed Wall street with a cautious outlook. The stock lost $4.15 to $24.91.

PRICEY JAVA: Keurig Green Mountain sank 7.9 percent as investors worried that the company's new cold-drink machine is priced too high. The stock lost $8.17 to $94.90.

DISAPPOINTING RESULTS: Dillard's reported weak first-quarter financial results, which pulled the department store chain's shares down 7.8 percent. The stock lost $9.70 to $114.50.

NETFLIX BUZZ: Shares in Netflix surged following a published report saying that the video streaming service is in talks to do business in China. The stock climbed 4.8 percent, notching the biggest gain among stocks in the S&P 500. Netflix rose $28.15 to $615.

STRONG QUARTERS: Applied Materials gained 2 percent after the semiconductor maker reported quarterly results that came in ahead of analysts' forecasts. The stock added 39 cents to $20.26. Investors also applauded the latest earnings from Darling Ingredients. The producer of natural ingredients reported a first-quarter profit on lower expenses, beating Wall Street expectations. Darling's shares rose $1.49, or 10.6 percent, to $15.58.

MANUFACTURING UPDATE: Separate reports offered a mixed assessment of U.S. manufacturing. The Federal Reserve said factory activity in New York increased slightly in May, suggesting that manufacturers are beginning to adapt to the challenges caused by a stronger dollar, lower oil prices and restrained consumer spending. Meanwhile, U.S. industrial output fell for the fifth straight month in April. The trend suggests that weakness in manufacturing and mining are weighing heavily on the economy.

EUROPEAN ACTION: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that the bank will fully implement its $1.2 trillion bond-buying program. There had been some speculation that the ECB might end the program earlier than anticipated in the wake of solid economic growth figures. Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.2 percent.

ASIA SCORECARD: Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 2 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7 percent after the Bank of Korea kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.6 percent. Markets in Southeast Asia mostly rose.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 45 cents to $59.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.14 percent from 2.23 percent late Thursday.

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