U.S. stocks fell on Friday after worse-than-expected quarterly results from computer maker Dell Inc and homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc underscored that the road to recovery would not be smooth.

Dell fell nearly 9 percent to $14.49 a day after it reported third-quarter sales that missed estimates.

Investors have been watching the technology sector closely after a big run-up, with the S&P information technology sector <.GSPT> soaring more than 70 percent from its March lows. On Thursday, tech shares were pummeled after a bearish analyst comment on semiconductors.

Dell usually does well in the holiday season. So this suggests that we won't get good results from other retailers. That's pushing the market down, said Dan Faretta, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 4.23 points, or 0.04 percent, at 10,327.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 3.24 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,091.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 13.37 points, or 0.62 percent, at 2,143.43.

D.R. Horton shed 9 percent to $11.15 after it reported a fourth-quarter loss that was wider than expected and said market conditions were still challenging. The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction index fell <.DJUSHB> 4 percent.

If the markets end in negative territory on Friday, it will be the third straight day of losses, as investors reassess the global economic outlook and see few reasons to make big bets after the market has jumped 20 percent in 2009.

The U.S. dollar gained 0.6 percent against a basket of currencies <.DXY>, pushing December crude futures down by 1.3 percent, extending Thursday's sell-off.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)