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MARKETS LOSE A BIT OF STEAM

Associated Press

NEW YORK - Investors pulled money out of stocks Friday after a five-day rally brought the market to its highest levels in nearly a year.

Stocks slipped in quiet trading Friday after the recent string of gains and a drop in oil prices. Crude slid 3.7 percent, which hurt some energy stocks like Exxon Mobil Corp. That overshadowed a rosier profit forecast from FedEx Corp. and a government report on improving sales at wholesalers.

Even with the losses, stocks still logged big gains for the week.

The forecast from FedEx is important because its delivery business is seen as an indicator of how healthy the economy is. FedEx cited stronger international shipments and cost-cutting for the improvement.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported that sales at the wholesale level rose in July by the biggest amount in more than a year, though inventories fell for a record 11th straight month. The rise in sales could lead businesses to start adding back to inventories, a good signal.

The gains in industrial stocks came at the expense of areas that have been leaders in the market's six-month rally such as technology and financial shares.

"The market always overshoots on either side. I think we're at the point in the move where we need to see the fundamentals catch up to support these levels," said Sean Simko, head of fixed income management at SEI Investments in Oaks, Pa. "In the short term, the market is going to take a little breather."

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