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Dow, S&P 500 at fresh records; Nasdaq dips

The Dow and S&P 500 closed at new records following fresh merger and acquisition activity, even as the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped slightly.

NEW YORK: The Dow and S&P 500 on Friday closed at new records following fresh merger and acquisition activity, even as the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped slightly.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 18.43 (0.11 per cent) to 16,717.17, edging above the previous record by less than 2 points

The S&P 500 advanced 3.54 (0.18 per cent) to 1,923.57, notching a record for the second straight day.

But the tech-rich Nasdaq fell 5.33 (0.13 per cent) to 4,242.62.

Stocks rose after Valeant Pharmaceuticals raised its bid for Botox-maker Allergan for the second time this week. Valeant rose 1.5, while Allergan jumped 5.7 per cent.

Dow member Microsoft announced a new partnership with Salesforce.com to employ Microsoft equipment on Salesforce applications and platforms. Microsoft gained 1.5 per cent, while Salesforce fell 3.3 per cent.

Home-improvement retailer Lowe's advanced 0.2 per cent after raising its quarterly dividend by 28 per cent to 23 cents per share.

Casual clothing chain Express slumped 7.5 per cent after reporting an 11 per cent decline in first-quarter comparable sales and projecting annual earnings of 74-90 cents per share. Analysts had forecast profits of $1.14 per share.

Splunk, which works in "big data" analysis, sank 16.4 per cent despite raising its forecast. The company now expects annual sales of $402-410 million, up from the previous projection of $400 million.

Deutsche Bank said investors were disappointed Splunk did not show stronger growth in billings and some other widely-watched metrics during the first quarter.

Value retailer Big Lots shot up 13.1 per cent as earnings of 50 cents per share bested analyst forecasts by six cents.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held steady at 2.46 per cent, the same level as Thursday, while the 30-year dipped to 3.31 per cent from 3.33 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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