Wall Street's rally stalls amid profit taking
AP Business WriterNEW YORK (AP) -- Investors opted for safety in lethargic stock trading Friday, locking in some recent profits and leaving prices barely changed.
Analysts had expected some selling after a three-day rally in which the Dow Jones industrials climbed 318 points.
"Today's pullback is nothing more than people pulling a little bit off the table," said Brian Belski, fundamental market analyst for US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.
The Dow closed down 5.40, or 0.05 percent, at 9,866.99, according to preliminary calculations.
The broader market also registered negligible losses. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 1.99, or 0.1 percent, to 1,898.58, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 3.59, or 0.3 percent, to 1,138.65.
However, advancing issues were ahead of decliners by an 8 to 7 margin on the New York Stock Exchange.
A government report that industrial production fell sharply in October might have given investors an excuse to sell, but in the end wasn't a major factor, said Stephen Carl, principal and head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group.
"It seems like a listless Friday," Carl said. "The market is pretty much flat and I don't see any real story."
Wall Street's modest losses were widespread, which wasn't surprising given that most sectors have fared well this week. Citigroup stumbled $1.29 to $48.80, Wal-Mart fell 90 cents to $55.10 and Microsoft declined 37 cents to $65.75.
Other stocks suffered from disappointing earnings results. Dell Computer fell $1.09 to $26.60 after reporting a 36 percent decline in third-quarter net income Thursday.
Gainers Friday included Yahoo!, up 64 cents at $15.47 after reaffirming its fourth-quarter and full-year outlooks. Krispy Kreme climbed $1.70 to $40.50 after surpassing earnings expectations and raising its outlook.
A Federal Reserve report Friday showed output at the nation's factories, utilities and mines plummeted by 1.1 percent last month -- the 13th decline in industrial production in a row.
But with inflation under control, the Fed will have leeway to cut interest rates again to stimulate economic growth, analysts say. The Fed cut rates 10 times this year and some economists are predicting an 11th cut at its next meeting on Dec. 11.
Also Friday, the Labor Department said consumer prices fell by 0.3 percent in October.
Trading volume on the NYSE came to 1.04 billion shares, compared with 1.15 billion shares on Thursday.
The Russell 2000 index, the barometer of smaller company, stocks, rose 1.92, or 0.4 percent, to 451.31.
Overseas, markets were higher. Japan's Nikkei stock average finished up 1.5 percent. In Europe, Germany's DAX index climbed 1.1 percent, France's CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent and Britain's FT-SE 100 advanced 1.0 percent.
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