NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 failed to reach a record closing high on Friday as investors retreated from equities on a plunge in consumer confidence. Markets will look ahead to next Wednesday when the Federal Reserve's policy-making wing makes its latest announcement, followed by Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.03 points, or 0.17%, to 14,514.11 and snapped a 10-day winning streak, which marked the blue-chip index's longest since November 1996. The Dow gained 0.81% for the week.
The S&P 500 lost 0.16% to 1,560.70 as the index posted a five-day 0.61% increase. The Nasdaq was behind by 0.3% at 3,249.07, and rose 0.14% for the week.
DirecTV (DTV) on Friday closed as one of the top advancers on the S&P, as shares popped 4.5% to $54.99 after the largest U.S. satellite TV provider, according to a Reuters report, dropped its bid for GVT, the Brazilian unit of European media and telecommunications giant Vivendi. After failing to attract its target €7 billion ($9 billion) in bids, Vivendi is putting the sale on hold, with only a KKR-led consortium of private equity groups left as a bidder, Reuters reported.A preliminary estimate on the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index showed a decline to 71.8 in March, the lowest since December 2011, from 77.6 in February. Economists were expecting an improvement to 78. "It looks like the dip in the preliminary reading of consumer confidence will foil the market's record run, at least until we can understand what is driving consumers' sudden downturn in forward-looking confidence," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York, said in an investor note. Industrial output did gain 0.7% in February after an upwardly-revised unchanged level in January, the Federal Reserve said, reinforcing evidence of improved economic activity. Production was forecast to rise 0.4%. Factory usage, known as the capacity utilization rate, rose to 79.6% in February, the highest level since March 2008. The final reading was higher than the upwardly-revised 79.2% in January and the consensus estimate of 79.3%, the Fed said. "We've stretched the American worker to get out just about as much as we can," Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at the New York-based brokerage Cuttone & Co. told TheStreet during an interview Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange. When that happens, companies either need to hire more workers or pay existing workers more money to work longer hours, Bliss added. "Both of those effects have wage inflation impact, and we could start to see more inflation inside the broader economy which then may force the Fed's hand," he said. Although many market participants are convinced the rally has extended too far and too fast, Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati said most of the one-week, one-month and two-month average returns over the past 14 instances in which the Dow has posted winning streaks of at least 10 days have been positive. "Past examples of big winning streaks actually show more strength could be in the cards," said Detrick. Bank stocks were in focus Friday after the Federal Reserve on Thursday approved the plans of 14 of the largest U.S. banks to divert money to shareholders after they were submitted to a battery of annual capitalization tests. Bank of America (BAC) was among those that received approval. Bank of America said it will repurchase up to $5 billion of common stock and redeem about $5.5 billion in preferred shares. The stock jumped 3.8% to $12.57. Houston, Texas-based utility holding company CenterPoint Energy (CNP) and Oklahoma City, Okla.-headquartered energy provider OGE Energy Corp. (OGE) charged to a record high Friday of $67.88 a share after they announced a master limited partnership deal with ArcLight Capital Partners, a Boston, Mass.-based energy-focused investment firm with more than $10 billion under management. The partnership creates a U.S. midstream company with combined assets of nearly $11 billion. CenterPoint popped 7.2% to $23.41 and OGE closed higher by 10.2% to $67.63 a share. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 11/32, diluting the yield to 1.997%. The dollar was sinking 0.44%, according to the
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV