NEW YORK: Stocks declined Friday, with the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 halting their longest stretch of weekly gains since August, as investors fixated on the lack of a federal government budget deal and ignored upbeat economic reports in the U.S. and China.
Apple Inc. fell 3.8 percent after UBS AG reduced its price estimate for shares of the consumer technology company, citing worries of slowing demand for the iPhone and iPad.
The market has mostly maintained a wait-and-see stance anticipating resolution to negotiations that had President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday speaking for nearly an hour at the White House, with both of their offices saying lines of communication remained open after their third such meeting.
“It’s certainly a source of frustration; today we got rather compelling news showing a bounce back in manufacturing post-Superstorm Sandy,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager for The Private Client Reserve, a division of U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
The Dow Jones industrial average shed 35.71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,135.01, leaving it off 0.2 percent for the week.
Off 0.3 percent from the week-ago finish, the S&P 500 index declined 5.87 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,413.58.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended a three-week winning stretch.
Off for a second straight week, the Nasdaq composite lost 20.83 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,971.33.
Other reports Friday showing contained inflation in the U.S. and improved factory activity in China were also “equity-market friendly, yet here we are with the political theater that is taking place in Washington,” Wiegand said.
Yet the market has displayed remarkably little distress over “the absence of a comprehensive fiscal policy [which] is confounding investors and certainly businesses,” said Wiegand.
The market had virtually no reaction to data from the Labor Department saying the cost of living fell last month. The 0.3 percent drop slightly exceeded the 0.2 percent decline economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast.
The Federal Reserve said industrial production climbed 1.1 percent in November.