NEW YORK – Stocks slipped Friday, pausing for breath after two straight days of gains as investors scanned a mixed bag of economic data amid renewed worries about corporate accounting practices.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 12.74 points, or 0.13 percent, to 9,907, according to the latest data, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 22.83 points, or 1.18 percent, to 1,911.20. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 fell 8.01 points, or 0.71 percent, to 1,122.19.
For the week, the Dow added 0.7 percent, the Nasdaq gave up 1.4 percent, and the S&P 500 eased 1 percent. Year-to-date, the Dow is 1.1 percent lower, the Nasdaq has declined 2 percent and the S&P 500 2.3 percent.
"The mood is cautionary, a little bit unsettled," said Donna Van Vlack, director of trading at Brandywine Asset Management, which oversees nearly $8 billion. "There have been so many incredible disasters lately ... with accounting stories that people want to err on the side of caution and be a little bit light."
The market seesawed amid the barrage of economic data that included a jump in a closely watched gauge of the U.S. manufacturing sector, a rise in consumer sentiment, a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate and a decline in payrolls.
Lingering jitters about the reliability of Corporate America's balance sheets was also still overhanging the market, analysts said.
"People are very nervous about accounting issues generally speaking, and it's just causing a lot of air pockets in the market that are impacting the psychology overall," said John Maloney, president of M&R Capital Management.
Investors found a few reasons for hope in the latest earnings reports as they searched for clues that corporations are getting relief from the recent profit squeeze.
Disney reported a 55 percent drop in fiscal first-quarter earnings, before an investment gain, but beat forecasts due mainly to cost savings. The company said its outlook remained cloudy. It rose $1.24 to $22.30.
Publishing software maker Adobe Systems on Thursday said current-quarter results should be in line with its earlier forecasts and that some December revenues were weaker than expected. It gained $2.76 to $36.46.
UAL Corp. , the No. 2 U.S. carrier and parent of United Airlines, however, fell after posting a large loss from plunging revenues in the Sept. 11 fallout, although it beat expectations. It slipped 79 cents to $13.91.
Computer Sciences Corp. , the world's No. 3 computer services supplier, rose $3 to $47.50 after it said earnings rose 33 percent as U.S. government business and outsourcing to commercial clients grew.
One pocket of strength was the biotechnology sector, which got a boost from Amgen Inc.'s rise of $2.21 to $57.71.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown raised its rating on Amgen to "strong buy" from "buy" after the biotech firm received early approval of Neulasta, a longer acting form of Amgen's immunity-boosting drug Neupogen.
U.S.-traded shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) were in the spotlight after it said it had sold $871 million in American Depository Shares (ADSs) on behalf of mostly state shareholders. It gained 12 cents to $17.09 and was the most active on the New York Stock Exchange.
"Carolina Group" tracking shares in the Lorillard tobacco unit of conglomerate Loews Corp. rose $1.05 to $29.05. Loews raised $980 million late on Thursday after an initial sale of the shares, according to lead underwriter Salomon Smith Barney.
Declining issues led advancers 5 to 4 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume came to 919.09 million shares, compared with 935.85 million at the same point Thursday.
The Russell 2000 index lost 1.38 to 481.72.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average lost 2.1 percent. In Europe, Germany's DAX index was down 0.2 percent, Britain's FT-SE 100 was up 0.5 percent, and France's CAC-40 slipped 1.4 percent.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.