- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks showed modest losses Friday as investors struggled to extend Wall Street’s gains to a fourth straight session.

An early advance fizzled as energy stocks slid and financial and technology shares wavered after posting big advances this week.

Following a three-day rally that has lifted the Dow Jones industrials nearly 10 percent, analysts say investors are likely taking profits ahead of the weekend.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if trading activity falls off as we head to the end of the week as investors try to lock in profit,” said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group.

In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 59.02, or 0.8 percent, to 7,111.04. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 7.73, or 1 percent, to 743.01. A pullback in tech stocks weighed on the technology-laden Nasdaq composite index, which fell 16.72, or 1.2 percent, to 1,409.38.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 2.46, or 0.6 percent, to 387.66.

Declining issues narrowly outpaced advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 656.1 million shares.

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