Wall Street retreats from record highs, dragged by tech sector

Most U.S. stocks slipped Friday, edging back from record highs, as better-than-estimated results from General Electric Co. failed to offset disappointing losses from the technology sector after Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp failed estimates on earnings.

Gold advanced and the dollar slumped. Oil settled higher after swinging between gains and losses during the trading session.

Microsoft Corp was the biggest drag on the three major indexes, with the Nasdaq showing the steepest declines. Google Inc also dragged on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq as both companies reported earnings that fell short of expectations.

Microsoft slumped 10.9 percent to $31.56, while Google lost 1.1 percent to $901.50. The S&P tech sector led declined, falling 2 percent.

General Electric advanced 4.6 percent to the highest level since 2008 after saying its order backlog reached a record amid demand for jet engines and drilling equipment.

U.S. stocks rallied yesterday, sending the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to records, as earnings from Morgan Stanley and UnitedHealth Group Inc. beat estimates and jobless-benefit claims declined to a two-month low. The S&P 500 has climbed 0.7 percent in the past five days, for a fourth straight weekly gain. The benchmark gauge for U.S. equities has surged 150 percent from a 12-year low in 2009, driven by profit growth and three rounds of central bank monetary stimulus.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 2.72 points or 0.16% to close at 1692.09 levels. The index reached the highest point at 1692.09 and the lowest point at 1684.08. By closing, 306 shares gained while 189 shares declined and 5 shares remained unchanged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average index lost 4.80 points or 0.03% to close at 15543.74 levels, the index reached the highest point at 15544.55 and the lowest point at 15491.96. By closing, 16 shares increased while 14 shares declined.

The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 23.66 points or 0.66% to close at 3587.61 levels, the index reached the highest point at 3589.05 and the lowest point at 3578.57. By closing, 1063 shares advanced while 1167 shares declined and 210 shares remained unchanged.

The Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of other major currencies dropped to 82.68, from an opening at 82.91, after hitting a high of 83.05, and a low of 82.62.

Gold closed at $1295.20, up from an open at $1283.01, after hitting a high of $1297.64, and a low of $1282.35. Crude oil futures climbed to $108.18, from an opening at $108.11, after having hit a high of $109.28 and a low of $107.48.