NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock averages pulled back Friday to end the third quarter on a down note as investors wrestled with weak reports on consumer confidence and the manufacturing sector.
Tension was also fed by the wait for Moody's review of Spain's sovereign rating, which could see country taken down to junk territory.
Still, the benchmark indices bounced off session lows after results on Spain's bank stress tests showed an as expected capital shortfall of € 59.3 billion, an amount that Chris Walker, strategist at UBS, said was "comfortably within EFSF
European Financial Stability Facility tolerance" as there had already been an agreement for up to € 100 billion in funds specifically assigned to the recapitalization effort.
Walker also noted that a Moody's downgrade of Spain's debt rating could actually expedite the clarity desired by investors on the country's bailout plans, as "any resulting forced selling from bondholders on Monday would likely be seen as bringing forward a full-blown Spanish aid request."
Dow Jones Industrial Average
slid 49 points, or 0.36%, to close at 13,437. Earlier in the session, the blue-chip index ran as low as 13,367. The Dow lost 1.1% for the week, but was up 4.3% for the quarter.
Breadth was very negative within the Dow as losers topped winners, 25 to 5. The heaviest decliners were
Bank of America
Shares of McDonald's slumped after the fast-food restaurant chain was cut to neutral from buy at Janney Capital. B of A was taking a hit after the company agreed to pay $2.43 billion to resolve a lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors during its purchase of Merrill Lynch.
Dow gainers included
fell more than 6 points, or 0.45%, to settle at 1440.67. The index closed off 1.3% for the week, but up 5.8% for the quarter.
declined more than 20 points, or 0.65%, to finish at 3116. It lost 2% for the week, but gained 6.2% for the quarter.
was a drag as shares dropped 2% after its CEO Tim Cook apologized for the iPhone 5's maps application which many customers say is flawed.
The weakest sectors in the broad market were energy, financial and transportation. Only utilities were edging higher. Volume totaled 3.50 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.86 billion on the Nasdaq.
Early weakness in equities was fueled by uninspiring datapoints on U.S. consumer confidence and manufacturing activity in the Chicago area.
The final September read on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index showed a decline to 78.3 from the previous estimate of 79.2 and was worse than the 79 level expected by economists.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that consumer spending during in August increased by an as expected 0.5% after rising 0.4% the previous month, but as Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at
High Frequency Economics
noted, "most of the rise reflected gas-led strength in prices. In real terms, spending rose just 0.1%."
Personal income ticked up 0.1% in August, which was less than expectations for a 0.2% rise, after increasing by the same, downwardly revised rate in July. The core PCE price index inched up by an as forecast 0.1% and the savings rate fell to 3.7% from 4.1%.
The Chicago ISM's business survey showed that print on the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index fell to 49.7 in September from 53 in August, coming in well below the consensus forecast of 52.9 and at its lowest level in three years. A read below 50 indicates contraction.
The FTSE 100 in London closed down 0.65% and the DAX in Germany finished down 1.01% in Friday trading. The Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 0.38% while the Nikkei Average in Japan closed down 0.89%.
November crude oil futures settled up 34 cents to $92.19 a barrel. December gold futures fell $6.60 to settle at $1,773.90 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose 6/32, lowering the yield to 1.640%. The greenback jumped 0.52%, according to the
In corporate news,
Research In Motion
was in rally mode after the BlackBerry maker reported a much
loss in the fiscal second quarter as its subscriber base grew and its cash balance increased. The stock gained 5%.
rose 6.6% after the social networking giant announced a new functionality to allow users to buy real gifts for their friends through the social networking site. The company said Facebook Gifts will roll out gradually, first becoming available to U.S. users.
, the daily deals site, is reshuffling senior management roles in an attempt to fix its struggling European business -- a shake-up that will also include the departure of its chief of international business, according to a report from
. Shares lowered 0.31%.
said fiscal fourth-quarter net income declined 55% from the same period last year after a larger than forecast drop in sales at the drugstore chain. Shares slipped 0.44%.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
--Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.
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