The earnings-fueled rally fizzled Friday as investors began to lock in some profits.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 109.13, or about 1.1 percent, finishing the week at 9,972.18. The S&P 500dropped 1.2 percent.
Even the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which shot out of the gate this morning after blowout numbers from Microsoft and Amazon, succumbed to the selling pressure, dragged down by chip and biotech stocks. A brief misunderstanding that Microsoft was lowering its full-year revenue forecast —it actually lowered its operating-expense forecast NOT revenue — may have also weighed on the sector.
It was a topsy-turvy week, with indexes soaring to new highs for the year on Monday, then swinging into negative territory as the week went on. But the net impact was very little: The Dow finished the week down just 0.2 percent; the Nasdaq shed 0.1 percent and the S&P fell 0.7 percent.
Microsoft was the Dow's best performer this week, up 5.7 percent. Much of that came from today's session after the software giant blew past earnings expectations for both earnings and revenue. This came a day after Microsoft released its new Windows 7 operating system.
"Microsoft is back. They are able to succeed despite heightened competition from Apple's share gain and Google's great brand," Katherine Egbert, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., told Reuters. "The numbers were unbelievable. An absolutely blowout."
And, while Microsoft lowered its operating-expense forecast for the full year, it didn't offer any revenue guidance.
Amazon was the week's biggest gainer on the Nasdaq 100, with shares soaring more than 25 percent after the online retailer topped forecasts and delivered a strong revenue outlook. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the company's Kindle e-book reader has become its top seller — both in terms of unit sales AND dollar sales.
Apple wasn't far behind, gaining 9 percent for the week, after the iPhone maker crushed forecasts with its results on Monday. Analysts said they think Apple is going to have a great Christmas and that the stock has further upside potential.
In today's batch of results, American Express and rival credit-card provider Capital One also beat expectations.
Diversfied manufacturer Honeywell posted a smaller-than-expected lossand held its full-year earnings target steady even though itexpects to see sales level off next year.
Oilfield services leader Schlumberger edged past expectations but warned that natural-gas activity would remain weak until late 2010.
The dollar regained some strengthon Friday, sending commodities prices lower. Still, oil finished the week at $80.50 a barreland gold settled at $1,056.40 a troy ounce.
More layoffs are coming in the media sector: Time Warner's Time magazine unit is reportedly planning another round of job cuts.
The market's slide, despite a solid roster of earnings beats, raised questions about whether this latest rally that has taken the Dow above 10,000 has finally run out of steam.
Odd Haavik, CEO of Charles Monat Associates, said now might be the time for some profit-taking as this latest rally isn't based on fundamentals.
"I think there's a good chance things have gone about as far as they are going in the short-term," Haavik said on CNBC this morning. "I think right now is a beautiful time to take some money off the table."
Tech was the big winner this week, after blockbuster results from Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo and SanDisk.
But Gerhard Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology, said on CNBC this morning that the outlook for tech may be dimming.
"There are some dangers ahead," Fasol said. "The great news, I think, could be temporary."