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U.S. Equities Close With Losses

NEW YORK U.S. stocks finished lower, depressed largely by news shortly after the opening that the University of Michigan index of consumer confidence plummeted to 93.1 in February from 103.8 in January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 66.22 to 10,627.85, the S&P 500 down 6.30 to 1,145.81 and the Nasdaq composite down 20.05 to 2,053.56. Sirius Satellite Radio (nasdaq: SIRI - news - people ) ended down 15 cents to $2.96 after market sources said it sold $250 million of five-year senior convertible notes in the 144a private placement market. IBM (nyse: IBM - news - people ) finished up 41 cents to $99.71 and Cisco Systems (nasdaq: CSCO - news - people ) up 1 cent at $24.06 after the two companies jointly announced they are working together to help businesses meet security challenges and reduce costs in this area.

Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) ended down 36 cents at $26.59 after some market players speculated about what sort of role it might play the bid by Comcast (nasdaq: CMCSA - news - people ) for The Walt Disney Co. (nyse: DIS - news - people ), which closed down 99 cents at $27.01. Microsoft already owns a stake in Comcast, so it would end up controlling a stake in Disney--if Comcast's bid succeeds.

COMEX gold closed lower in a shortened session Friday, after giving an erratic performance; the April gold contract settled down $3.40 at $410.80 an ounce. The U.S. dollar managed to defy its recent soft trend, benefiting from unusually strong profit-taking in euros. In late trade, the euro stood against the dollar at $1.2746, well below its morning levels. The 10-year bond was down 0.010 yielding 4.048%.
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