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Stocks recovered from their lows but still finished slightly lower Friday, breaking a four-day winning streak, weighed by a batch of disappointing economic reports and a day after the Dow and S&P 500 posted record highs.
Despite the lackluster session, all three major averages still closed up nearly 2 percent for the week.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished almost flat, after being down nearly 75 points at its session low. Alcoa led the blue-chip laggards, while Home Depot rallied.
Among key S&P sectors, materials lagged, while consumer discretionary led the gainers.
Energy stocks tumbled as commodities staged a broad selloff. Gold prices plunged to settle near $1,500 an ounce, dropping more than 20 percent from its record 2011 highs and putting it in bear market territory for the first time after 12 years of gains. Meanwhile, oil prices slumped to an eight-month low.
(Read More: No Shine: Gold Plunges Into Bear Market Territory)
"All four economic data points were pathetic – especially the consumer sentiment and retail sales reports," said Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co. "But we're going to bob and weave here and probably finish only slightly lower…people are still nervous to really start layering in the big time short because you have the backstop of the Fed. There's also a fair amount of capital coming into our market from Europe and Asia."
On the economic front, retail sales unexpected contracted 0.4 percent in March, according to the Commerce Department, disappointing analysts who had expected a flat reading for the month.
Adding to woes, consumer sentiment tumbled to a nine-month low in April, with the The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment falling to 72.3. Economists expected a reading of 78.5. The index stood at 78.6 last month.
And business inventories edged up just 0.1 percent in February, the weakest gain since June, according to the Commerce Department, missing expectations for an increase of 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, producer prices recorded their biggest drop in 10 months, falling 0.6 percent in March as the cost of gasoline tumbled, according to the Labor Department, giving further reason for the Federal Reserve to maintain its accommodative monetary policy. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a decline of 0.2 percent.
Apple fell after RBC cut its target price on the iPhone maker to $550 from $600.
Yahoo edged higher after JPMorgan raised its target price on the Internet company to $26 from $22.
Rally Software soared nearly 30 percent in its market debut on the NYSE, after the company priced at $14, above the expected range.
In Europe, investors were cautious ahead of a two-day meeting between European Union finance ministers, at which Cyprus's 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout will be top of the agenda. The cost of Cyprus's bailout has ballooned and there are fears the aid promised to the country will be insufficient to help the Mediterranean country through a steep recession.
"The discussions on Cyprus's bailout program will once again highlight the severe damage being wrought on the economy and the Eurogroup's botched attempts at managing the crisis," Chris Scicluna, an economist at Daiwa Capital, said in a morning note.
Meanwhile, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed lower on Friday after Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda acknowledged that his inflation target is flexible and said he was watching for signs that excess liquidity was causing bubbles in markets. South Korea'sKospifinished 1.3 percent down, as investors remained cautious over tensions with North Korea.
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—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)