US stocks slid Friday, as investors tried to digest a string of tapering remarks from several Federal Reserve officials, but they managed to close in the black for a third straight week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 185.46 points, or 1.19 percent, to 15,451.09 points. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index lost 12.43 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,709.91 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 14.65 points, or 0.39 percent, to 3, 774.73 points.
However, the three indices still logged a three-week winning streak. For the week, the Dow rose 0.5 percent, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.3 percent while the Nasdaq ticked up 1.4 percent.
In a television interview with Bloomberg before the opening bell, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said that "no taper" was a close decision in the Fed September meeting and a small reduction in Fed's monetary stimulus is possible in October meeting.
Separately, he said that the Fed can be patient as to when to trim its monthly asset purchases with a low inflation in a speech later Friday.
The Fed's decision to keep its quantitative easing intact in its latest meeting "created confusion," said Kansas City Fed President Esther George Friday.
Moreover, options prices are useful to help assess outlook and make decisions for policymakers, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said Friday.
The US central bank surprised the Wall Street by announcing to stick with its bond buying programs Wednesday after a two-day policy meeting, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index to new highs.
However, the market pulled back following its record rallies, with some traders questioning the rationality of the market's fast move so far this year, as opposed to the country's anemic economic growth.
On the corporate side, Apple shares surrendered earlier gains and closed 1.04 percent lower to 467.41 US dollars as the tech giant started selling its latest iPhones at its global retail stores. BlackBerry shares plunged 17.06 percent to 8.73 dollars after the smartphone maker's preliminary quarterly results disappointed investors.
On other markets, the US dollar rose moderately against major currencies Friday on Bullard's tapering talks.
The euro weakened against the dollar after the European Commission reported consumer confidence in the euro zone reached a two-year high in September, but still fell short of market expectations.
In late New York trading, the euro declined to 1.3521 dollars from 1.3527 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound slipped to 1.6019 dollars from 1.6033 dollars.
Investors are also concerned about German federal elections to be held Sunday. If Chancellor Angela Merkel, seeking her third term, is not able to maintain her center-right coalition, Germany' s eurozone policy may be interrupted.
U.S. crude price extended losses Friday on profit-taking after a recent rally powered by the Fed's surprise decision to maintain monetary stimulus program. Oil prices also fell as Syria agreed to surrender its chemical weapons, easing the concern that a possible U.S.-led attack will disrupt Middle East oil exports.
Light, sweet crude for October delivery decrease 1.72 dollars to settle at 104.67 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for November delivery gained 46 cents to close at 109.22 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell, giving back more than half of the hefty gain from a day earlier, but still ending the week 1.8 percent higher.