Stocks Finish Volatile Week With Losses

Updated from 2:46 p.m. EDT

Stocks in New York continued their bumpy ride Friday and ultimately closed to the downside after the release of discouraging housing data and a record low in a consumer sentiment survey.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell late and ended with a loss of 127.04 points, or 1.4%, at 8852.22, while the S&P 500 slipped 5.88 points, or 0.6%, to 940.55. The Nasdaq was off 6.42 points, or 0.4%, at 1711.29.

The teeter-totter action marked a fitting end to a jarringly volatile week, during which the Dow added 4.8%, the S&P 500 rose 5% and the Nasdaq was up 3.8%.

The day's economic data looked bearish. The Census Bureau reported that September building permits came in at an annualized rate of 786,000, down from 857,000 in August and below analyst estimates. New-home starts were estimated at 817,000, hitting a 17-year low.

Michael Pento, senior market strategist at Delta Global Advisors, said that the U.S. needs to build 1.15 million units a year to satisfy the needs of Americans. "We're building significantly below that at this time," he said.

Pento also said that the U.S. has excessive housing inventory, and housing starts may have to drop to 500,000 to clear out the excess. He said that historically, 64% of the U.S. population owned homes, and lately the number has increased to 67.8%. The ratio of median home price to median income has risen to 4-to-1, vs. historical levels of 3-to-1, he said. "You have to wash out all those people who have no business owning a house, people that should be renters," he said. "Simple back of the envelope, you need a 25% drop in home prices just to get to historical measures."

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