NEW YORK, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks logged a three-day losing streak on Friday to finish the week lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average marking its biggest drop this year, as economic data came out tepid.
The Dow lost 30.72 points, or 0.20 percent, to 15,081.47 points. The S&P 500 shed 5.49 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,655.83 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3.34 points, or 0.09 percent, to 3,602.78 points.
For the week, the blue-chip Dow decreased 2.2 percent. The broader S&P 500 was down 2.1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dipped 1.6 percent.
Wall Street opened lower following Thursday's heavy selloff and swung between gains and losses before closing in negative territory. Meanwhile, the 10-year and 30-year U.S. Treasury yield hit their highest levels in two years amid the ongoing worries about when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to trim its monetary stimulus policy.
On the economic front, U.S. homebuilders broke ground on more homes in July boosted by apartment construction, evidence of a recovering property market, the Commerce Department reported on Friday.
Data showed U.S. privately-owned housing rose 5.9 percent in July, but the figure came in lower than expected.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumer sentiment for August slipped from a six-year high. The preliminary reading on consumer sentiment fell to 80.0 in August from 85.1 in July, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index.
"Consumer confidence declined from a six-year high, which implies consumers are vulnerable to rising rates and dropping stocks. If the Fed starts tapering in September, causing rates to climb and stocks to drop, consumers may pull back spending, which could slow the economy again," Mei Li, an economic analyst at FTN Financial, commented in a note on Friday.
Moreover, non-farm business sector labor productivity grew at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of the year, as output increased more rapidly than hours worked, the Labor Department said on Friday.
On the previous trading day, all three major stock indices plummeted over 1 percent on much-better-than-expected jobless claims data, which stoked investors' fears that the continued improvement in labor market will urge the Fed to trim its monetary stimulus very soon.
In corporate news, Dell shares advanced 0.84 percent to 13.82 dollars apiece on Friday after the PC maker late Thursday reported a 72-percent slump in quarterly profits, but its adjusted per- share earnings and revenue both topped analysts' estimates.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, fell 2.44 percent to end at 14.37.
In other markets, oil prices climbed on Friday as investors feared that the unrest in Egypt will disrupt oil supplies. Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 13 cents, to settle at 107. 46 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While Brent for October delivery went up 41 cents, to close at 110.4 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange advanced 10.1 dollar to settle at a two-month high of 1,371 dollars per ounce on Friday.
The U.S. dollar strengthened against most major currencies on Friday. In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3336 dollars from 1.3347 of the previous session and the dollar bought 97.50 Japanese yen, higher than 97.39 of the previous session.