Investors cash in on gains from the manipulated big rally
Wall Street trims its rally as personal incomes decline
Technology stocks led the decline as did energy shares, which fell along with the price of oil.
A dip in personal incomes and a slowdown in personal spending gave investors little reason to extend the market's recent rally, which has sent the Dow Jones industrial average surging 21 percent over just 13 days.
Major market indicators fell about 1 percent at midday, but that was little cause for worry among analysts given the powerful climb the market has seen this month.
Though the market's recent advance technically puts it in bull market territory -- usually defined as a 20 percent rise from a low -- investors are mindful that rallies within bear markets can last for some time, only to quickly come crashing down.
Many investors are well aware that the economy and the banking system remain troubled. And the next hurdle Wall Street must jump is high: first-quarter earnings.
Next week will bring more tests for the market in the form of a number of important economic reports, most notably the March unemployment report on Friday. All the market really needs, analysts said, is a few more reports showing improving, or at the very least stabilizing, numbers to signal that it is safe to keep buying.
The Commerce Department said Friday personal spending rose 0.2 percent in February, as expected, down from a 1 percent gain in January. Personal incomes fell 0.2 percent.
Disappointing announcements sapped strength from technology companies. Tech stocks had surged Thursday and pushed the Nasdaq into positive territory for the year.
Internet powerhouse Google said it is laying off nearly 200 workers, and technology consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture lowered its outlook for the quarter and the year. Shares fell $3.04 to $350.25.
In other downbeat corporate news, auto parts maker Johnson Controls said it will cut jobs and close 10 manufacturing plants. And although homebuilder KB Home said it narrowed its fiscal first-quarter loss, its CEO warned that the housing market continues to face an oversupply of homes, falling prices, tight lending standards, rising unemployment and weak consumer confidence.
Financial companies were mainly weak too, ahead of a meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and chief executives of the nation's largest banks. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are preparing to launch a partnership with private investors to buy banks' toxic assets.
The discussion also comes as Congress works on a bill to curb Wall Street bonuses, and Geithner plans to regulate the hedge fund industry more heavily.
|Liveleak on Facebook|