Stocks sank for the second consecutive session Friday, amid persistent worries about higher interest rates and corporate earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.85 points to 3,891.30, bringing the week's loss in the blue chip index to 19.17. The Dow lost 25 points early in the session, attempted a comeback, then resumed its decline even as bonds and the dollar rallied in the afternoon.
"Everything revolves around the bonds," said analyst Larry Wachtel at Prudential Securities. "The 30-year bond yield is at (about) 8 percent, which is a shoot-out level. If you go dramatically through this level, you've got a problem."
General Motors Corp.'s shares fell to their second straight 52-week low as disappointing third-quarter results released Thursday led four investment houses to cut their earnings estimates, according to Bloomberg Business News.
Wall Street panned the stock because some of the problems that led to a $328-million loss at GM's North American car and truck business _ high costs for overtime, freight and new-model launches _ are likely to continue, said David Healy, an analyst at S.G. Warburg & Co.
In Japan, despite repeated efforts by the nation's central bank to prop up the dollar in its foreign exchange market, the U.S. currency plunged Friday to its lowest level against the yen since the late 1940s.
The decline further annoyed Japanese exporters, who already have been heavily hurt by the dollar's erosion this year because it means lower profits when exchanged for yen. The dollar closed the week at 96.68 yen, its lowest finish in Tokyo since the modern exchange rate system was set up after World War II.