US stocks Friday closed out a choppy day of trade on a negative note following a mixed batch of economic data and a big jump in bond yields.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 30.72 (0.20 percent) to 15,081.47.
The broad-based S&P 500 declined 5.49 (0.32 percent) to 1,655.83 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 3.34 (0.09 percent) to 3,602.78.
All three indices veered in and out of positive territory throughout the day, steadying somewhat after sharp declines Thursday.
Several analysts flagged a steep rise in Treasury bond yields for a second straight day on Friday as a worry. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose from 2.76 percent Thursday to 2.83 percent.
New housing starts data showed spending up last month to an annualized pace of 896,000 units, up from 846,000 in June.
But analysts were disappointed by a consumer confidence report that showed weaker sentiment in August than July.
"The economic news was obviously mixed," said Peter Cardillo of Rockwell Capital Management.
Computer maker Dell rose 0.8 percent after a Delaware court cleared a September 12 shareholder vote on the proposal led by founder Michael Dell to take the company private, rebuffing an effort by Carl Icahn to challenge the proposal.
Dell meanwhile reported a 72 percent drop in second-quarter profits due to falling PC sales.
Applied Materials, which provides equipment and software to high-tech sectors, rose 1.9 percent after promoting president Gary Dickerson to chief executive. Company earnings came in one cent shy of the expected 19 cents per share.
Nordstrom became the latest retailer to disappoint investors, dropping 4.9 percent after besting expectations for second-quarter profit, but trimming its full-year business forecast.
The department store operator now expects a total sales increase of 3-4 percent for the year compared to 4-6 percent in its previous outlook.
Pandora added 2.5 percent after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy." Goldman cited higher advertising revenues per listener hour and said fears about competition from Apple and others are already priced in, Barron's reported.
Food company General Mills fell 2.3 percent after Jefferies downgraded the stock to "underperform," flagging fears the company's cuts to its advertising and media spending will result in lower sales.
aBond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US bond rose to 2.83 percent from 2.76 percent Thursday, while the 30-year increased to 3.86 percent from 3.79 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.