Decliners finished ahead of advancers by a 2.3-to-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange and 2.6-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. Volume totaled 3.61 billion on the Big Board and 1.83 billion on the Nasdaq.
S&P 500 lost more than 13 points, or 0.94%, to settle at 1414. The index closed the week up 0.09% and is up 12.45% year-to-date.
Nasdaq dropped nearly 38 points, or 1.26%, to finish at 2982. The tech-heavy index finished the week down 0.13% but is still up 14.47% in 2012.
The broad market finished entirely in the red with the basic materials, capital goods, energy, technology and utilities sectors leading the decline.
September factory orders rose 4.8%, a turnaround from a decline of 5.2% in August which was the result from a large drop in aircraft orders.
"The underlying characteristic of
economic reports is whether the trend of somewhat positive appearing reports can be sustained in the face of uncertainty. The trend in economic reports has not justified recent market appreciation because of low expectations," said Jeff Sica, manager of SICA Wealth Management. "The catalyst for most of the recent uptick has been Ben Bernanke and his coveted printing press."
"A Romney victory will turn Bernanke into a lame duck chairman which will result in a Bernanke resignation prior to the completion of his term. Bernanke will never accept being a lame duck Fed Chairman. The result will be uncertainty as to whether the market could move up without the Bernanke catalyst," Sica added.
The FTSE 100 in London finished off 0.11%, while the DAX in Germany added 0.38%. Asian markets posted gains Friday after the Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged at zero to 0.1%. Japan's Nikkei average rose 1.17% overnight to close at 9051. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.33% to 22,111.
Gold for December delivery plummeted $40.30 to settle at $1,675.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts shed $2.23 to close at $84.86 a barrel.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 2/32, boosting the yield to 1.719%. The dollar was up 0.66%, according to the
U.S. dollar index