NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks saw a steep sell-off Friday as anti-government protests in Egypt spooked Wall Street.

The pullback put at least a temporary end to the flirtation that's gone on between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 and their respective psychologically significant levels of 12,000 and 1,300 over the past two sessions.

The Dow, which touched 12,000 a few times this week but was unable to close above it, shedding 166 points, or 1.4%, at 11,823. That was its biggest single-day percentage drop since November. The decline also ended the Dow's eight-week long winning streak, with the blue-chip index ending the week lower by 0.4%.

The S&P 500 closed lower by 23 points, or 1.8%, at 1276. It peaked above 1,300 both Thursday and earlier Friday before selling off.

The Nasdaq Composite came under the heaviest pressure during Friday's session, plunging 68 points, or 2.5%, at 2687 after some technical difficulties. During the morning session, the Nasdaq failed to update its feed for about 45 minutes because of a dissemination glitch .

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished the week with losses of 0.5% and 0.1% respectively.

Clashes between the police and Egyptian demonstrators in Cairo intensified on Friday resulting in the deployment of Egypt's military. Protestors, spurred by riots that led to the ousting of Tunisia's president earlier in the month, are rallying against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The uncertainty was causing a rebound in the commodity market and the energy sector showed the session's mildest losses. The March crude oil contract added $3.70, or 4.3%, to settle at $89.39 a barrel. The most actively traded April gold contract gained $21.90, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,341.70 an ounce.

A disappointing quarterly report from high-flier Ford ( F) also weighed heavily on market sentiment. Shares of the car and truck maker fell sharply after the company reported a 79% drop in fourth-quarter net income. Adjusted earnings came in at 30 cents a share, well short of the profit of 48 cents a share that analysts had forecast. Ford's stock was down by 11.9% at $16.55.

The Nasdaq was hit hard by some disappointments in late Thursday earnings reports from Microsoft ( MSFT) and Amazon ( AMZN).

Microsoft was the Dow's biggest laggard followed by Home Depot ( HD), Cisco ( CSCO) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ). Despite beating estimates, Microsoft reported a slight decrease in net income and Windows sales disappointed some analysts. The stock was off by 4.1% at $27.69.

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