Stocks fall Friday in light trading ahead of holiday weekend

By Amy Baldwin

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Wall Street bumped through a quiet session Friday, with blue chips rising on some upbeat economic news and then dropping back as investors played it safe before the Labor Day weekend. Tech stocks lagged throughout the day.

Analysts shrugged off Friday's trading, which came amid very light volume ahead of the holiday. The session capped a lackluster week that was notable mostly for profit-taking from five weeks of advances; it also ended a month in which the stock market started showing some meaningful signs of health.

"We are really going to start over after Labor Day and sink our teeth into good trading," said Stephen Carl, head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group.


The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 7.49, or 0.1 percent, at 8,663.50, its fourth straight loss. The Dow gave up an earlier gain of 112 and ended a five-week winning stretch.

Broader indexes also ended Friday lower. The Nasdaq composite index fell 20.92 to 1,314.85. The Standard &; Poor's 500 index declined 1.73 to 916.07.

The three major market gaAlthough the market ended August by declining, stocks nonetheless showed some solid signs of life during the month and had many market watchers starting to believe that Wall Street had at last reached a bottom after months of selling.

The Dow ended August down 8.4 percent, while the Nasdaq was off 9.8 percent. But the S&P; 500, rose 4.4 percent.

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