For the week, the Dow plunged 4.01 percent, the S&P dropped 4.69 percent, while the Nasdaq plummeted 6.62 percent. Wal-Mart was the biggest gainer on the blue-chip index for the week, while HP plunged.
Techs were the biggest sector laggards this week, utilities eked out a gain.
Volume was lighter than usual with the consolidated tape of the NYSE at 5.16 billion shares, while 1.51 billion shares changed hands on the floor.
“The market action today summarizes the week—through all ups and downs, sentiment continues to remain negative,” said Doreen Mogavero, president and CEO of Mogavero Lee & Company. “People don’t want to go home long [equities] ahead of the weekend.”
Stocks started the week with a strong rally, thanks to a handful of M&A activity and amid hopes that European leaders may be close to taking some action to help resolve the ongoing debt crisis.
However, the gains were erased throughout the week as concerns over the global economic growth surfaced, following a flurry of disappointing economic news. In addition, the major concern now is the issues surrounding European financials spilling over into the U.S. banking system.
European stocks finished in the red after already suffering heavy losses in the previous session over fears that euro zone leaders would not be able to contain the debt crisis.
Meanwhile, the French and German Finance Ministers are scheduled to meet in Paris next Tuesday. They are expected to provide detail to the proposals sketched by French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel earlier this week.
The dollar, plunged to a record low against the yenand oil settled mixed in volatile tradingwith U.S. light, sweet crude dipping 12 cents to settle at $82.26 a barrel and London Brent crude gaining $1.63 to finish at $108.62. Gold settled at a record high of $1,852 an ounce.
Gold mining shares were among the biggest gainers, with Newmont Mining and Goldcorp up almost 3 percent each.