Stocks ended relatively flat Friday after a disappointing GDP report but the Dow logged its best month in a year, rising more than 7 percent.
The GDP report weighed on the market but better-than-expected readings on consumer sentiment and manufacturing helped curb losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped just over a point to close at 10,465.94. The S&P 500and Nasdaqalso finished roughly flat for the week but all three finished up more than 6 percent for the month.
Consumer discretionary, materials and health care were the best performing sectors today. Utilities, techs and energy stocks were the laggards. For the month, materials were one of the best performers, while health-care stocks were among the weakest.
The CBOE volatility index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended below 24. The VIX dropped 32 percent in July, the biggest monthly percentage decline since 1994. At the same time, gold fell over 5 percentas investors have started to move away from such safe-haven plays.
DuPont , Caterpillar and American Express were the biggest gainers on the Dow in July, up between 12 and 17 percent. Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson were at the back of the pack.
Over on the S&P, Genzyme was the biggest gainer, up a whopping 37 percent following news that Sanofi-Aventis is considering making a bid for the company, followed by Anandarko, which gained 36 percent.
Genzyme also led over on the Nasdaq, while Nvidia and Symantec were among the worst performers after the chip makers slashed their forecasts and were downgraded by several brokerages.
Chevronbeat expectations for both earnings and revenue, helped by higher oil prices, but the stock rose only slightly on Friday.
The energy sector was mixed after a strong week of earning results from Chevron rivals, including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips.
BP shares finished flat after the company's Russian joint venture partner TNK-BP said it is considering buying BP's Venezuelan assets as way to expand its international businesses. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, BP CEO Tony Hayward said he did everything he could do to respond to the Gulf oil spill.
Halliburton shares fell after FBR Capital downgraded its rating on the stock to "market perform" from "outperform."
Merck fell almost 2 percent after the drug giant reported its profit fell 52 percent amid hefty merger and restructuring charges. Still, the results beat expectations and the firm also delivered a forecast in line with expectations.
Motorola fell more than 1 percent after reporting earnings and revenue Thursday that was better than expected amid greater demand for mobile-network equipment.
So far, nearly two-thirds of the S&P 500 has reported earnings, with 75 percent beating expectations.
JPMorgan Chase raised its 2010 earnings outlook on the S&P 500 to $84 a share from $81 a share, citing strong second-quarter results and a recovery in Europe.
A weak reading on economic growth rattled the market at the open: GDP rose 2.4 percent, according to the government's preliminary estimate, lower than the consensus estimate of 2.5 percent.