Stocks closed lower Friday as markets followed what has become a pattern at the sputtering end of this fourth-quarter rally: Early gains...
NEW YORK — Stocks closed lower Friday as markets followed what has become a pattern at the sputtering end of this fourth-quarter rally: Early gains narrow through the day’s trading and occasionally turn to losses. The major indexes finished the week mixed.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 6.08 to 10,875.59.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, slipped 2 cents Friday to close at $26.90 a share, and dropped 2.9 percent for the week. Boeing, also a Dow stock, receded 4 cents on Friday to $70.75, but was up 1.6 percent for the week.
Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 3.62 to 1,267.32, and the Nasdaq composite index declined 8.15 to 2,252.48.
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For the week, the Dow rose 0.9 percent, the S&P gained 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq slipped 0.2 percent.
Tech stocks drooped, perhaps on recent middling results from the sector’s big names, such as Oracle, which look worse compared to the recent sunny outlooks from industrial companies such as General Electric and Honeywell International.
Still, by afternoon, all the day’s gains were gone. “It looks like the rally we saw from the October bottom until late November is sort of stalled,” said Joseph Sunderman, director of trading at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.
Crude-oil futures fell. A barrel of light crude settled at $58.06, down $1.93 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In economic news, America’s deficit in the broadest measure of international trade showed a slight improvement in the July-September quarter, although it was still at the third-highest level in history. The current account deficit includes not only sales of merchandise and services but also investment flows and foreign aid. The current account deficit must be financed by persuading foreigners to hold more dollars, which they invest in U.S. stocks, bonds and Treasury securities.
This is part of a string of economic reports that have come in “not too hot, not too cold,” said John Waterman, chief investment officer at Rittenhouse Asset Management.
“We feel a little bad news on the economy is good news for the market,” because it means the Federal Reserve will stop raising short-term interest rates sooner, he said.
The market, however, struggled through another week without notable gains, as investors continued to consolidate their holdings despite generally strong earnings and economic reports.
In company news, Adobe Systems’ shares climbed $3.89, or 11 percent, to $38.82 after the company, which makes software such as Acrobat for creating digital documents, posted higher fourth-quarter earnings and gave an upbeat fiscal 2006 outlook. Adobe has several hundred workers in the Seattle area.