Stocks largely ended down Friday, but significantly off earlier losses, as the tech-heavy Nasdaq turned slightly higher. The moves came amid light trading and continuing worries about the economic recovery and bearish action in expiring August options.
The Dow Jones Industrial Averageended down 57.6 points, or 0.9 percent, to 10,213.62. The Dow had lost more than 120 earlier Friday.
The blue-chip index was led lower by Hewlett-Packard , AT&T , and General Electric.
For the week, 3M had the most negative impact on the Dow, falling almost 4 percent. McDonald's had the most positive impact, rising 1.6 percent.
The S&P 500 ended down 3.9 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,071.69. The Nasdaq rose a slight 0.8 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,179.76.
The Nasdaq was pushed higher after earlier losses on the performance of tech companies, including Intuit , Marvelltechnology and Symantec .
For the week, Wells Fargo had the most negative impact on the S&P, falling nearly 5 percent, while Google hurt the Nasdaq the most, falling 5 percent.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 26.
Most of the key S&P 500 sectors fell, led by energy, industrials, and telecom, but utilities,technology, and consumer staples turned higher. For the week, 7 out 10 S&P sectors were negative, led by energy, down more than 2.25 percent. Tech was the most positive group, up 0.65 percent.
The Nasdaq is the one index to close higher for the week, but it is leading all three indexes lower for the year, down 4 percent. The S&P 500 is close on the Nasdaq's heels, losing 3.9 percent for the year, while the Dow is down 2 percent.
MarvellTechnology shares jumped almost 10 percent after the chipmaker gave a strong revenue growth forecast despite a tough hard-drive market, as it came out of an inventory overhang.
Intuit shares soared after reporting a quarterly loss narrower than expected, and was on pace to record a multi-year high. Symantec was benefiting from Thursday's news that Intel plans to acquire Symnatec rival McAfee.
Despite the boost in tech stocks, the market was still mostly down, and volume was light.
One concern is the spike in mergers and acquisitions activity to the highest levels seen since late 2009 —typically a bullish sign for the market — has failed to turn around sentiment, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research.
"If companies are willing to put cash to work and buy other companies, that’s usually a bullish sign," Detrick said. "But this economic data is trumping everything."
In addition, August monthly expiration occurs today, an event that now has taken a more bearish outlook, said Larry McMillan, president of McMillan Analysis in a note to clients.
"As a result, there is a negative bias to the expiration now, since there is some open interest in the in-the-money puts," he said. "This is likely why the market is lower today, even though there is no economic news."
McMillan added that a breakdown below 1,060 on the S&P 500 on a closing basis "would be a signal to turn fully bearish."
Despite decent earnings reports, Hewlett-Packard dropped after the tech giant said its profit fell in line with estimates. Investors remain concerned after CEO Mark Hurd's departure. At least three brokerages cut their price targets on HP, although they continue to have positive ratings on the stock.
Dell shares ended slightly higher but were also weak after the PC maker beat profit and revenue estimates, but said its gross profit margin lagged expectations. At least four brokerages cut their price targets on the firm.
Meanwhile, shares jumped for Salesforce.com to a multi-year high. Salesforce's second quarter numbers beat consensus estimates, and the company raised its outlook for future sales based on strength in cloud-based computing.
In other technology news, shares of Research In Motion tumbled after Morgan Stanley lowered its rating on the stock to "underweight" from "overweight," and cut its price target to $47 from $95, citing mounting security concerns from overseas governments with BlackBerry services in addition to demand for rival products, including the iPhone and Android phones.