Stocks head lower, market on track for weekly loss

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Apr. 15, 2013, in New York.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK The stock market headed slightly lower Friday, keeping on track for its first weekly loss in a month.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down three points, at 1,647, a slip of 0.2 percent, as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down three points at 15,291. Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) supported the Dow, rising 4 percent.

Both indexes are headed for their first weekly losses since the week ending April 19. Anxiety over the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program was the main culprit. Some investors are concerned that the Fed will scale back its effort to support the economy sooner than they expected.

The S&P 500, widely used by mutual funds as a proxy for the stock market, is down 1.2 percent for the week. It's still up 15 percent so far this year.

Marty Leclerc, the managing partner of Barrack Yard Advisors, an investment firm in Bryn Mawr, Pa., said the weekly drop wasn't cause for concern. Even market rallies have to take the occasional break.

"It's up like a rocket blast this year,'' he said of the stock market. "For there to be a little bit of a pullback is perfectly understandable.''

Sears (SHLD) plunged 14 percent after the department-store chain reported a steep quarterly loss and slumping sales after the market closed Thursday. Sears lost $7.91 to $50.26.

Procter & Gamble announced late Thursday that it's bringing back its former CEO, A.G. Lafley, to run the company. The world's largest consumer-products maker, whose brands include Tide and Crest, is trying to increase sales in the face of tough competition. P&G rose $3.22 to $81.92.

The Nasdaq composite sank six points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,453. Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 dropped.

The stock market slipped Friday despite an encouraging report on U.S. manufacturing. The government said orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in April, helped by demand for aircraft and stronger business investment. The report suggests economic growth may hold steady this spring.

In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.01 percent from 2.02 percent late Thursday.

The price of crude oil fell 43 cents to $93.83 a barrel. Gold dropped $5.20 to $1,386.60 an ounce.

Trading was light ahead of the long weekend. U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.

Among other stocks in the news Friday:

Intuitive Surgical gained 5 percent after a jury decided in favor of the maker of robotic medical equipment in the first of many lawsuits filed against the company. The plaintiffs argued that Intuitive was negligent in training doctors to use its equipment. Intuitive's stock rose $25.13 to $503.58.

Titan Machinery plunged 9 percent. The company, which deals in agricultural and construction equipment, said late Thursday that weaker revenue will lead it to a wider quarterly loss than it had expected. Titan's stock lost $2.07 to $20.43.