NEW YORK – U.S. stocks declined Friday, with the indexes poised for monthly gains and weekly losses, with a July drop in personal income, a rise in oil prices and a worse quarter than forecast for Dell Inc. supporting a bearish view ahead of the long weekend.

“The market is trying to get a sense of what oil will do and how the impact of the tropical storm headed toward the Gulf Coast is going to influence oil prices over the next week, and it’s dealing with the Dell news from last night coming in below expectations,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer at Oaktree Asset Management.

After three straight sessions of gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 125.30 points to 11,589.88, with all but a few of its 30 components trading lower.

As things stood in afternoon trade, the Dow was poised for a monthly gain of 1.9 percent and a weekly decline of 0.3 percent.

Shares of Intel Corp. were down the most in recent action, off 2.7 percent.

The S&P 500 Index fell 12.11 points to 1,288.57, with information technology pacing the declines among 10 industry groups, down 1.9 percent.

With less than two hours to go in Friday’s session, the S&P was readying for a 0.3 percent decline and a monthly advance of 1.7 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 38.73 points to 2,372.91, leaving it up 2 percent for the month and down 1.7 percent for the week.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange topped 412 million, and decliners topped advancers about 4 to 3. On the Nasdaq, 355 million shares were exchanged, and decliners outran advancing stocks nearly 2 to 1.

Among the tech laggards, shares of Dell fell 12.6 percent after the PC maker reported a 17 percent profit drop as margins were hurt by efforts to build out its consumer-product lines and overseas markets.

Early economic data also weighed. The Commerce Department said consumer spending fell 0.7 percent in July, the most in almost three years, while incomes also dropped.

“The decline in personal income makes sense, given job losses, the slowing economy and that the economic stimulus has been used up,” commented Pavlik, who downplayed the significance of later data that had a gauge of manufacturing activity in the Chicago region picking up in August, as well as a measure of consumer sentiment improving a bit.

Also, ongoing worries that Tropical Storm Gustav might damage critical energy infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico fueled the price of oil futures, with crude for October delivery up 46 cents at $116.05 a barrel in the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“There’s not a heck of lot that you can take away from today’s action going into next week; it all depends on storm and how economic data plays out next week,” added Pavlik, who pointed to unemployment numbers of particular concern.

“Through July, 463,000 jobs have been lost since the beginning of this year – if you see a spike in the unemployment rate, the markets gets pretty concerned,” the Oaktree investment officer said.

Marvell Technology Group Inc. dropped 5 percent as the chipmaker forecast current quarter sales below analyst expectations.

Microsoft Corp. said it’s going to buy Web-based survey company Greenfield Online Inc. for $486 million in cash, or $17.50 a cash. That tops a previous bid by buyout firm Quadrangle of $15.50 a share.

U.S. stocks climbed Thursday as MBIA Inc. led a rally in financial shares and the government hiked its previous tally of economic growth in the second quarter. The Dow industrials rose 212 points, the Nasdaq Composite rose 29 points and the S&P 500 added 19 points to climb back above the 1,300.


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