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Stocks fall following oil rise

Sat., Feb. 24, 2007, midnight

Stocks ended a lackluster week with a moderate decline Friday as higher oil prices weighed on investors’ already rickety sentiment and Treasurys rallied amid concerns about a meltdown in the subprime mortgage market among companies that offer loans to those with spotty credit.

It was the worst week for the Dow Jones industrials since mid-August. The broader market indexes were mixed for the week.

The pullback followed several mixed sessions in which the tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index showed gains but blue chip stocks pulled back in part amid inflation concerns. Oil settled at its highest level of the year Friday, eclipsing a year high set Thursday.

Bond prices rose Friday, rebounding from a sell-off a day earlier, as investors sought quality amid concerns that subprime lenders would be forced to book big write-downs for consumers who were unable to keep up with mortgage payments. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 4.67 percent from 4.73 percent late Thursday.

“The defaults that you’re seeing in the subprime market are a bit of a wake-up call for investors. I think you’re going to see a continued flight to safety,” said James Sonneborn, wealth manager at RegentAtlantic Capital LLC.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 38.54, or 0.30 percent, to 12,647.48.

Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.19, or 0.36 percent, to 1,451.19, and the Nasdaq slipped 9.84, or 0.39 percent, to 2,515.10.

For the week, the Dow industrials lost 0.94 percent, the S&P 500 was off 0.35 percent and the Nasdaq composite index added 0.75 percent. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies Friday, while gold prices rose. Light, sweet crude settled up 19 cents at $61.14 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 8 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 2.59 billion shares, compared with 2.64 billion Thursday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 2.80, or 0.34 percent, to 826.64.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.44 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 closed up 0.32 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.27 percent, and France’s CAC-40 was up 0.15 percent.


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