NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks finished in the red on "Black Friday" as eurozone contagion fears and escalating tensions in Korea overshadowed a strong holiday shopping season in the U.S..
Dow Jones Industrial Average
shed 95 points, or 0.8%, to close the abbreviated trading session at 11,092. The
fell 9 points, or 0.8%, to 1,189. The
gave back 8 points, or 0.8%, to settle at 2534.
The Dow wrapped the holiday-shortened trading week 1% lower as negative news abroad offset a spate of strong economic data at home.
showed modest gains within the Dow.
were the session's biggest laggards among the blue chips.
U.S. markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. On Wednesday, stocks rallied on a sharp drop in initial jobless claims and improved consumer sentiment ahead of the holiday season.
But contagion fears and geopolitical concerns snapped back into focus on Friday.
fell sharply as markets questioned whether the European Union and the International Monetary Fund will be able to support other debt-logged eurozone countries if they ask for an aid plan similar to Ireland's.
Investors focused on
despite repeated assurance from Prime Minister Jose Socrates that the country was not intending to seek bailout funds.
Concerns that Spain, the euro-zone's fourth largest economy, might also be forced to ask for a bailout also loomed large. The cost to insure Spanish and Portuguese government debt against default rose to a record,
reported, citing data provider CMA.
Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's cut ratings of bonds of
Anglo Irish Bank
to junk and downgraded
Bank of Ireland
Allied Irish Bank
by one notch each to BBB+ and BBB respectively.
In Asia, hostilities mounted on the Korean peninsula after North Korea's news agency said planned naval exercises involving South Korea and the U.S. could bring the region to "the brink of war." On Tuesday, North Korean soldiers fired artillery at a South Korean island and killed four people.
"Contagion concerns in the overseas markets and more tension in Korea has the few of us who are working today worried," said Peter Tuz of Chase Investment Counsel. He said early reports seemed to suggest that retailers were seeing a strong holiday shopping season. However, global concerns were dominating concerns on Friday. In any case, it would be hard to read too much into market action on Friday. "On a day like today, when trading volume is light, the moves tend to be exaggerated on either direction," said Tuz.
The euro weakened against the dollar, dropping 0.9 % to $1.3238. The dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index rising 0.8%.
Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8%, and Japan's Nikkei shed 0.4%. European markets were paring losses but were still trading weak. The FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt shed 0.5% each.
With no economic reports scheduled, investors in the U.S. were focused on retail stocks this Black Friday. Expectations for strong sales during the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season are high compared with a year ago.
Retailers were mixed with
closing weaker, while
inched slightly higher.
Energy, basic materials and financials were among the worst performers.
shed 0.9% and 1% respectively while
fell 1.1%. BP said Friday that it had been awarded a 100% interest in the North Arafura oil and gas production sharing contract in onshore Papua Province, Indonesia.
shed 2.6% and 2% respectively, on the back of
weakness in base metals.
Del Monte Foods
, the pet food and consumer products manufacturer,
agreed to be taken over by a group of investors led by private equity firm
for $4 billion. KKR will pay $19 per share in cash, a 5% premium to Wednesday's closing price. Shares rose 4.6% to close at 18.80.
soared 33% to $19.29 after it agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Veritas Capital for $19.50 a share, or $525 million.
gained 0.9% to $16.09. The company
plans to add 66 dealerships in China before the end of the year, according to a
Wall Street Journal
shed 0.7% to $64.50. The
Wall Street Journal
said the company is modifying portions of the electrical system on its forthcoming Dreamliner. An in-flight fire aboard a test plane two weeks ago through its delivery timeline off schedule.
In commodity markets, the January crude oil contract was down by 14 cents to trade at $83.72 a barrel. The December gold contract was down by $14.50 to $1,358.50 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note strengthened 12/32, diluting the yield to 2.868%.
--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.