NEW YORK -- Stocks fell Friday, closing out what was the worst week of the year for the Dow Jones industrial average.
The market was dragged lower by a weak performance from retailers and companies sensitive to higher interest rates.
Stocks had a decent start in the first half of the week, but investors were hit hard in the last three days. Overall, the Dow retreated 2.2 percent for the week, its worst for 2013. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 2.1 percent for the week, its second-worst performance of the year.
The possibility of a cutback in the Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program in September has roiled the bond market in the last couple of weeks, which in turn spilled over into the stock market. The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.83 percent, its highest level since July 2011. A week ago, the yield was 2.58 percent. In the bond market, yields rise as bond prices fall.
"When yields are going up like this, that's scary for most equity investors," said Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist at Rosenblatt Securities.
On Friday, the S&P 500 lost 5.49 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,655.83. The Dow fell 30.72 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,081.47 and the Nasdaq composite lost 3.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,602.78.
Retailers continued their multiday sell-off. Nordstrom Inc. gave a bleak sales outlook late Thursday that echoed similar forecasts from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Macy's Inc. earlier this week. The outlooks have raised worries that U.S. shoppers might be pulling back on spending. Nordstrom's stock fell $2.90, or 4.9 percent, to $56.43, making it the biggest decliner in the S&P 500.
With the bond market in decline and stocks selling off, investors shifted into a safer asset -- gold. Its price rose $10.1, or 0.7 percent, to $1,371. Gold had its third-best week this year, rising 3.7 percent.businessnews