Stocks pared losses in early trading on Friday after the S&P 500 briefly touched its 200-day moving average, seen as a key support level of support.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slid 78.90 points, or 0.64 percent, at 12,161.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 8.22 points, or 0.63 percent, at 1,292.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> took off 19.72 points, or 0.71 percent, at 2,746.53.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch)