Caution reasserted itself on Wall Street Friday, sending stocks sharply lower but not enough to prevent the market from notching its third straight weekly advance.
Major market indexes fell about 2 percent, but most analysts agreed that the pullback was a natural response to the market's powerful climb this month. Financial and technology stocks led the retreat, and energy shares fell along with the price of oil.
A dip in personal incomes and a slowdown in personal spending gave investors reason to cash in some of their willing after the Dow Jones industrial average surged 21 percent over just 13 days. Analysts said the sentiment in the market was still more upbeat than it was a month ago, but the economic numbers were a reminder that the economy and the banking system remain troubled.
"There is still a definite caution in the air," said Doreen Mogavero, president of Mogavero, Lee & Co., a New York floor brokerage, adding that she's noted some hesitance among her clients. "I don't think people are completely invested yet."
Mogavero noted that the money that has gone into the market over the last few weeks has been "short-term" in nature, which leads her to believe that most people are not convinced that the economy will soon recover.