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Closing Update: Stocks Finish Week with Steep Losses As Declines Accelerate Near Close in Quadruple Witching Friday

A late selloff dragged stocks to their lowest prices of Friday's session, erasing all of the gains from a mid-week rally that followed an optimistic assessment of the U.S. economy by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as investors increasingly worried about how rising interest rates here would affect growth elsewhere around the world.

Declines accelerated heading in today's close, with all 10 sectors in the S&P 500 ending well in the the red, led by losses by shares of utility and financial companies, amid today's so-called quadruple witching when options and futures contracts for stocks and indices for December and Q4 expired.

Blue-chips declined following downgrades Friday of Dow component companies Boeing ( BA ) and Disney ( DIS ) and upstaging an upgrade for fellow Dow component Microsoft ( MSFT ), with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping over 2.1% today and sinking about 0.8% for the week. As been the case in recent weeks, a cautious tone kept non-cyclical stocks from experiencing the worst of today's decline, with shares of consumer staple and health care companies joining utility stocks at the top of the leader board.

Oil took another tumble Friday after Baker Hughes ( BHI ) reported an increase in the number of drillrigs in operation last week of 17 to 541. Crude oil for January delivery settled 39 cent lower at $34.56 per barrel while January natural gas futures added a penny to $1.77 per 1 million BTU.

Material stocks also dropped Friday despite higher closes for metals in commodities trading, with February gold rising $15.40 to $1,064.80 per ounce while March copper jumped 7 cents to $2.11 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at the end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 367.39 (-2.10%) to 17,128.45

S&P 500 down 36.37 (-1.78%) to 2,005.52

Nasdaq Composite Index down 79.47 (-1.59%) to 4,923.08

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 0.53%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.03%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.76%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) RLOC, Secures $10 mln in new funding from VantagePoint Capital Partners while Hercules Technology Growth Capital ( HTGC ) trims restricted cash required for term loan by $2.5 mln to $15 mln. Reiterates in-line Q4 revenue forecast of $88 mln to $92 mln.

(+) NYNY, New York State Gaming Commission adds consideration of gaming facility license for the company's proposed Montreign casino in the state's Catskill region.

(+) VCEL, Stonepine Capital LP agrees to accept 1.25 mln shares of common stock in exchange for 1,250 shares of the company's Series A convertible preferred stock.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ICA, Decides to not pay $31 mln interest payment due at the end of the month on $700 mln of its bonds maturing in 2024. Begins work on a debt restructuring and reduction expected for completion by mid-February.

(-) EMAN, Prices $6 mln direct offering of 4 mln shares at $1.50 apiece. Also issues warrants with 66-month term and exercisable at $2.05 a share.

(-) ATW, Announces agreement with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to delay requirement ATW take delivery of two newbuild ultra-deepwater drillships until September 2017 and June 2018, respectively, in exchange for $100 mln payment on Dec 31.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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