Stocks slide anew

Mood is downbeat on Wall Street as investors bail out of financial and technology shares.

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NEW YORK ( -- Stocks slipped Friday morning, with financial and technology shares leading the decline, as investors remained uneasy after the previous day's losses.

About an hour into the session, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost a few points, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index was little changed. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) also held near breakeven.

The major gauges tumbled Thursday after a weak regional manufacturing report added to fears that the economy is headed for a recession, if not already in one.

There was no fresh economic data to set the tone Friday and after a sluggish start to the session, stocks turned lower.

Trading could be choppy ahead of next week's big batch of economic news, which includes reports on new and existing home sales, producer prices, durable goods orders, consumer confidence and personal income and spending.

Corporate news. A number of financial stocks slumped, including Dow components American Express (AXP, Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and JP Morgan (JPM, Fortune 500).

Bond insurer MBIA (MBI) slumped 5% after Deutsche Bank cut its earnings estimates. On Thursday MBIA quit the Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers, a trade group, after 22 years, due to disagreements over the right direction for the industry.

Bond insurers such as MBIA have been in focus lately due to worries that if they can't raise enough capital, their top-notch credit ratings will be downgraded, which would make it harder for them to get new business and could also lead to more bank writedowns.

Mortgage finance firms Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) and Fannie Mae (FNM) slipped after Merrill Lynch downgraded both companies to "sell" from "neutral," reported.

Other markets. U.S. light crude oil for April delivery rose 42 cents to $98.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The March crude futures contract settled at an all-time high of $100.74 a barrel Wednesday after touching a trading high of $101.32.

COMEX gold for April delivery rose 60 cents to$949.80 an ounce.

Treasury prices were little changed, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note at 3.77%, roughly where it stood late Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and the yen.  To top of page

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