Weakness prevailed throughout Friday's trading session, as investors cashed in on some of the recent gains. Some of the weakness came as investors digested mixed economic news and kept a close eye on a meeting between President Obama and the CEOs of the nation's biggest banks.
In economic news, the Commerce Department released its report on personal income and spending in the month of February earlier in the day, showing that spending increased for the second consecutive month.
The final reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for March was also released, showing a revised reading of 57.3. Economists had expected the consumer sentiment index to be lifted to 56.8 from the mid-month reading of 56.6.
Meanwhile, President Obama met with the CEO's of the country's biggest banks to discuss the economy and proposals to increase regulation of the financial system. The meeting came only days after the Obama administration revealed details on how they plan to improve the balance sheets of banks.
At the close of the roundtable discussion, some of the CEOs mentioned that Obama had emphasized the need to work together to solve the financial crisis and lift the economy out of recession.
The major averages all ended the session firmly in negative territory after ending Thursday's trading at one-month closing highs. The Dow closed down 148.38 points or 1.9 percent at 7,776.18, the Nasdaq closed down 41.80 points or 2.6 percent at 1,545.20 and the S&P 500 closed down 16.92 points or 2 percent at 815.94.
Despite the losses on the day, the major averages still closed higher for the third straight week due largely to the rally seen on Monday. The Dow rose 6.8 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 posted weekly gains of 6 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org