S&P 500 flirts with record as gains in energy and financials deliver an early lift to stocks

U.S. stock benchmarks on Friday opened slightly higher, but enough to put the S&P 500 index within striking distance of record territory. An apparent easing of trade tensions has been attributed to weekly advances for U.S. benchmarks, even if investors believe that the market remains vulnerable to a slide on those trade worries. However, rising rates also were seen capping gains, with the 10-year Treasury note yield heading toward 3%, which could rattle investors as it indicates higher borrowing costs for American corporations. The S&P 500 index was up 3 points, or 0.1% at 2,908, with the financial sector adding 0.6% and the energy sector showing a gain of about 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50 points, or 0.2%, at 26,196, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3% at 8,033. Moves have been mostly subdued but steady, helping to bring the S&P 500 within striking distance of its closing record at 2,914.04. For the week, the S&P 500 is set o rise 1.2%, the Dow is on track for a weekly advance of 1%, while the Nasdaq is tracking a 1.6% climb. In economic data, U.S. retailers posted the weakest sales in August in six months. Meanwhile, the import-price index sank 0.6% in August and industrial production rose 0.4% in August, representing a third monthly increase. Meanwhile, in corporate news, marijuana-related stocks were under pressure after a stellar week for such companies, highlighted by an 11% decline for Tilray Inc. , which was still hanging on to a weekly gain of 37%.

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