Updated from 4:08 p.m. EDT

Blue-chips and tech stocks staggered late and closed lower Friday as raised expectations from

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

weren't enough to overcome weak consumer sentiment data.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished with a loss of 117 points, or 1.3%, to 8684.53. Early in the session, the Dow had dropped more than 200 points, then mounted a rally before pulling back again. All told, the Dow moved in a 250-point range during the trading day.

The

Nasdaq

had been higher, but slipped into negative territory in the afternoon and finished lower by just under a point at 1373.50. The

S&P 500

shed 5.98 points, or 0.6%, to 921.39.

For the week, the Dow lost 7.4% and the S&P fell 6.9%. For both, it was the worst performance since the markets reopened the week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Nasdaq dropped 5.2% this week.

Weighing on the market was the University of Michigan's

consumer sentiment index, which fell to a preliminary 86.5 in July from 92.4 in June. Economists had expected a reading of 93.

On a more positive note, the Commerce Department said

retail sales rose 1.1% in June, and were up 0.4% excluding automobiles. The reading was somewhat higher than economists expected.

Despite the difficulties afflicting technology companies like

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

and

Apple Computer

(AAPL) - Get Report

, Dell said Thursday night that its results are trending above expectations.

The company expects second-quarter revenue of $8.3 billion and earnings of 19 cents a share, above a forecast it issued May 16 for $8.2 billion and 18 cents. Currently, the consensus estimate is in line with Dell's earlier projections, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Dell rose 4.6% to $25.03.

Meanwhile, GE surprised nobody by reporting results that were in line with its own numerous forecasts on a solid performance in its long-cycle businesses. The company also said it was comfortable with analysts' full-year estimates.

For the second quarter, GE earned $4.43 billion, or 44 cents a share, up from $3.89 billion, or 39 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were looking for 44 cents. GE added more than 4% to $28.60.

With its flagship online property still struggling with low subscriber growth and poor advertising, the future of Bob Pittman at

AOL Time Warner's

(AOL)

America Online division is reportedly in doubt. Friday's

Wall Street Journal

said that the company has begun a search for a new executive to run America Online. Pittman was appointed to head the online division in April. AOL slid 4% to $13.14.

Consultancy

Accenture

(ACN) - Get Report

reported third-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, a penny better than estimates, on revenue that was essentially flat at $2.98 billion. The company sees an in-line fourth quarter and year. The stock dropped 9.3% to $14.10.

In the retail sector,

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

saw its shares drop 7.4% to $29.09 after Merrill Lynch lowered its investment rating on the stock to neutral/buy from strong buy.

Elsewhere,

United Parcel Service

(UPS) - Get Report

said it earned 54 cents a share in the second quarter, in line with estimates, and said it will sell up to 32.5 million Class B common shares in a secondary offering.

UPS moved up the release of its earnings after being placed in the S&P 500 and said the stock offering was being made primarily to index funds that need the shares to mimic the proxy. UPS slipped 2% to $61.26.

Treasuries were higher around 4 p.m. EDT. The 10-year Treasury note was up 16/32 to 102 10/32 to yield 4.574%. The 30-year bond and shorter-term notes were also advancing.

In London, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.1% to 4224, while in Frankfurt the Xetra DAX added 0.3% to 4131. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.1% to 10,601, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.9% to 10,648.