Stocks ended Friday with losses across the board as economic data came in softer than expected, while Wall Street continued to come to terms with the beginning of the end of quantitative easing.
The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index dropped to a reading of 80 in August, down from July’s 85.1, and well behind expectations of a rise to 85.2. Meanwhile, housing starts were up 5.9 percent on a month-to-month basis for the month of July with 896,000 units having begun construction, shy of the 900,000 units that had been expected.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 was off one-third of a percent to 1,655.83, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day at 15,081.47 on a loss of 0.2 percent, and the NASDAQ was one-tenth of a percent lower at 3,602.78.
The S&P was pulled lower by REIT stocks that struggled on the news about housing starts, with Kimco Realty Corporation ($KIM) leading the way down on a loss of nearly 6 percent, followed by significant losses for Macerich Co. (MAC) , Prologis Inc. (PLD) , and Simon Property Group Inc. ($SPG) among others.
On the Dow, Verizon Communications (VZ) was off 1.7 percent, followed closely by Pfizer Inc. (PFE) , down 1.5 percent. PC-maker Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) ended the day on the other end of the index, up 1.8 percent ahead of next week’s anticipated earnings report release.
The NASDAQ was hampered by high-volume losses for tech stocks, with Cisco Systems (CSCO) extending yesterday’s enormous losses, followed by Groupon Inc (GRPN) and BlackBerry (BBRY) . Healthcare company MannKind (MNKD) dropped over 13 percent on fears that the company has become over-reliant on the promise of its upcoming diabetes treatment Alfrezza.
The NASDAQ was saved from worse losses by Facebook (FB) , up 1.4 percent, with Apple (AAPL) ending the week above $500 on an advance of 0.9 percent, and Tesla Motors (TSLA) adding 1.67 percent to hit $142.