Dow breaks winning streak

By Alexandra Twin, senior writer

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks slipped Friday as a strong dollar dragged on commodity prices, giving investors a reason to step back after pushing the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite to 18-month highs in the previous session.

Palm's worse-than-expected quarterly loss pummeled the tech and telecom sectors.

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The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 37 points, or 0.4%, after ending the previous session at its highest point since Oct. 1, 2008. The Dow has now broken its winning streak after having closed higher for eight sessions in a row, the longest stretch since last August.

The S&P 500 index (SPX) slid 6 points, or 0.5%, after finishing the previous session at its highest point since Sept. 26, 2008. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) shed 17 points, or 0.7%, after ending the previous session at its highest point since Aug. 28, 2008, a nearly 19-month high.

Stock declines Friday were broad-based, with 22 out of 30 Dow issues falling, led by American Express (AXP, Fortune 500), Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500), Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500), IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), 3M (MMM, Fortune 500), Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500).

Investors took a step back Friday after pushing stocks higher in recent weeks. But the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all closed higher for the week, rising for the fifth week out of the last six.

Stocks gained Thursday after reports showed that pricing pressure remains mild and the pace of job losses is slowing.

Market breadth was negative. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers beat winners seven to three on volume of 1.98 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers eight to five on volume of 3.01 billion shares.

Palm: The smartphone maker plunged 26% Friday after reporting a steeper-than-expected quarterly loss after the close of trade Thursday. Palm (PALM) also said that a big build-up of inventory will drag on current-quarter revenue.

Analysts pounced on the company Friday, with two brokerages cutting their price target on the stock to $0.

Quadruple witching: Friday also brought the quarterly options expiration in which stock index futures and options as well as individual stock futures and options all expire at the same time.

The event can cause wild fluctuations in the underlying stocks and greater volatility in the broader market. However, the effect tends to be felt throughout the week of the expiration, rather than just on Friday.

The dollar and commodities: The dollar gained versus the euro and the yen, dragging on dollar-traded commodity prices.

U.S. light crude oil for April delivery fell $1.52 to settle at $80.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

COMEX gold for April delivery fell $19.90 to settle at $1,107.60 per ounce.

Bonds: Treasury prices fell, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 3.69% from 3.67% late Thursday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

World markets: In overseas trading, European markets were mixed. The London FTSE rose 0.1%, the French CAC 40 fell 0.3% and the German DAX lost 0.5%. Asian markets gained, with Japan's Nikkei rising 0.8% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng gaining 0.2%.  To top of page

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