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Despite 3 Down Days, Dow Gains for Week

Stocks finished lower Friday, despite a last-ditch attempt to rally, as technology shares took yet another hit — this time it was weak earnings from PC maker Dell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 14.28, or about 0.1 percent, to close at 10,318.16. The S&P 500 lost 0.3 percent, while the Nasdaq dropped 0.5 percent.

The Dow has fallen for the last three days but managed to finish the week up about half a percent. This is its third straight up week. The Nasdaq lost about 1% and the S&P shed about 0.2 percent.

Another strong day for US currency also pressured stocks today. The dollar-stocks inverse trade has been in full force all week. Commodity prices declined, with oil settling at $76.72 a barrel and gold settling at $1,146.40, after setting a record above $1,150 earlier this week.

Caterpillar, GE and Cisco were the day's biggest decliners on the Dow. Merck and Pfizer rose.

Technology stocks are up 50 percent year-to-date as investors placed their bets on the recovery but that trade is starting to unwind. IT was the worst performer of 10 key S&P sectors this week, down 4.6 percent.

Health care, materials and consumer staples were the week's best-performing sectors.

A triple threat of bad news hurt techs this week:

Dell delivered its quarterly report late Thursday and missed on both earnings and revenue. Its shares tumbled 10 percent Friday.

This came after an analyst downgrade on Intel and other chips on Thursday and weak outlooks from a pair of software makers on Wednesday.

One of those was engineering-software maker Autodesk — its shares tumbled nearly 13 percent this week. The other was

A small comfort for tech: Software maker Intuit posted a smaller-than-expected loss.

And Hewlett Packard , which reports earnings on Monday, advanced.

Merck was the Dow's biggest gainer today — and for the week — as investors moved into classically safe bets like health care, consumer staples and utilities.

Homebuilder D.R. Horton delivered the biggest downside surprise for earnings this week, posting a much wider-than-expected loss, despite an increase of orders. Margins were disappointing. Its shares fell 13 percent this week.

The biggest upside surprise this week? Home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma . Its shares jumped 11 percent this week.

Gaphit its earnings target, helped by strong sales at its lower-priced Old Navy stores.

Ann Taylor beat earnings expectations but its topline was a little light — sales dropped 12.3 percent and the women's apparel chain said sales would continue to slide in the fourth quarter.

GE shares slipped after the Financial Times reported that GE and Vivendiare $1 billion apart on valuing Vivendi's stake in NBC Universal. GE is also the parent of CNBC.

Goldman Sachs fell 1.6 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that shareholders have asked the bank to share some of its profits with investors — not just doling out big bonuses.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

Procter & Gamble saw its shares slip amid news that the company is targeting a share repurchase of less than $8 billion.

There were half a dozen IPOs this week, most of which advanced. Internet-security company Fortinet was the best of the bunch, up 35 percent this week.

Despite a rough week for the markets, optimism remained; JPMorgan upped its target for the Standard & Poor's 500 to 1,160 though it noted that many investors were likely to go into "hibernation" as 2009 comes to a close.

On Tap for Next Week:

MONDAY: Existing-home sales; two-year note auction; earnings from Campbell Soup, HP, ADI and Brocade
TUESDAY: GDP (2nd look); Conference Board consumer confidence; Sheila Bair press briefing; Five-year note auction; Fed minutes; Earnings from American Eagle, Barnes & Noble, Dollar Tree, Hormel, Medtronic and TiVo
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps; weekly jobless claims; durable goods; personal income; Reuters/U of Mich consumer sentiment; new-home sales; weekly crude inventories; 7-year note auction; Earnings from Deere, Tiffany
THURSDAY: Thanksgiving—all US financial markets closed
FRIDAY: Black Friday—US markets open but NYSE closes early

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.