Stocks struggle for direction
Dow briefly tops record closing high, but investors still sorting out economic reports.

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks were mixed at the open Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average briefly topping its all-time closing high for the second day in a row, as investors digested a weaker-than-expected report on consumer spending.

The Dow Industrials, the broader S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite were little changed.

The Dow briefly rose as high as 11,724 78, above its all-time closing high of 11,722.98, hit on Jan. 14, 2000.

The Commerce Department reported that spending by consumers rose 0.1 percent in August, falling short of forecasts for a 0.2 percent increase, before adjusting for a rise in price.

The report also revealed that so-called core PCE deflator, one of the Federal Reserve's favored measures of inflation, was up 0.2 percent in the month, meeting economists' expectations.

Shares of Research in Motion (up $15.93 to $101.99, Charts) surged in early trade after the BlackBerry maker reported better-than-expected second-quarter profits, even though the company also announced a review of stock options practices.

Oil eased toward $62 a barrel as U.S. light crude fell 43 cents to $62.33 a barrel in electronic trading.

Treasury prices edged higher, with the yield on the 10-year note slipping to 4.60 percent. The dollar was stronger against the euro and the yen.

In corporate news, Ford Motor (up $0.00 to $8.16, Charts) announced that it will cut one in four workers at its profitable Ford Credit unit and close its branch office network in order to cut costs.

Friday morning Dell (down $0.05 to $22.92, Charts) announced it was recalling about 100,000 more laptop batteries that were made by Sony (up $0.00 to $41.16, Charts), raising the total recalled to 4.2 million.

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