Despite Friday's losses, the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 both gained more than 2 percent in the previous four sessions, setting record closing marks Thursday.
A dour retail report Friday helped put the brakes on the rally. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.4 percent in March, the sharpest decline in nine months.
The DJIA ended barely lower Friday, skimming just 0.08 points or less than 0.001 percent to finish at 14,865.06 after recovering from a sharp mid-day drop. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 4.52 points at the close to wind up off 0.28 percent and settle at 1,588.85.
The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index lost 5.21 points or 0.16 percent to reach 3,294.95.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,194 stocks advanced and 1,821 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares traded.
The 10-year U.S. treasury note rose 19/32 to yield 1.725 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro was higher at $1.3113 from Thursday's $1.31. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 98.34 yen from 99.68 yen.
The dollar index, a prorated measure of the dollar against six major currencies, fell 0.15 percent to 82.12 on the International Exchange.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 0.47 percent or 64.02 points, to 13,485.14. In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 0.49 percent, 31.75 points, to 6,384.39.
Oil closed lower at $90.99 per barrel, down $2.52. Gold dropped sharply, off more than 4 percent with a drop of $79.30 to $1,485.60 per troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold is off 21.3 percent from its August 2011 record of $1,888.70 per ounce. That puts the metal in a bear market, which is commonly defined as a 20 percent correction from a recent peak.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn for May delivery gained 6.75 cents to $6.58. May soybeans were up 12 cents to $14.14 and wheat gained 14.25 cents to $7.12.
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