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The markets skidded deep into the red on Friday, with consumer staples, materials, and energy taking the biggest losses.
As of 1:18 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 74.7 points, or 0.48%, to 15481, the S&P 500 dipped 5.9 points, or 0.35%, to 1684 and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 3.6 points, or 0.09%, to 3602.
Wall Street opened with a whimper, but began taking heavy losses in mid-morning trading. All but one major sector was in the red, with the heaviest losses being taken by consumer staples, materials and energy stocks. Meanwhile, Treasury-bond yields fell as traders bid up the safe haven assets.
Peter Boockvar, chief market strategist at The Lindsey Group, said part of the reason behind the weakness on the day was the gains seen this week in Treasury-bond yields. He said as the "cheap money" stops flowing, it could create a near-term pause for gains in stocks that are floating about record highs. In particular, he pointed to utilities and housing spots as potentially vulnerable to such moves.
After a deluge of earnings this week, there were fewer corporate reports out on Friday. Amazon.com (AMZN) posted a surprise quarterly loss after the bell Thursday, sending shares of the online retail giant skidding lower.
On the economic front, a reading on consumer sentiment from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan came in at 85.1 in late July, from a preliminary reading of 83.9, beating estimates of 84. It was the highest reading since July 2007.. Analysts said consumers are still weighed down by greater payroll taxes and still-sluggish job growth.
Elsewhere, oil prices came under pressure. The benchmark U.S. contract sold off by $1.09, or 1%, to $104.39 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.11% to $3.02 a gallon. In metals, gold fell $2.80, or 0.21%, to $1,327 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.24% to 2746, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.19% to 6575 and the German DAX fell 0.53% to 8255.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 plunged 3% to 14129 and the Chines Hang Seng ticked up 0.31% to 21969.