Stocks close out difficult week with big losses

Citigroup said it hopes to shed about $500 billion in assets and increase revenue by 9% over the next few years as it tries to recover from big losses tied to deterioration in the mortgage and credit markets. Citi, one of the Dow 30 stocks, fell 67 cents, ror 2.8%, to $23.63.

General Motors, also a Dow component, fell 86 cents, or 4.1%, to $20.29 after reporting in a regulatory filing it would provide financial support to help settle the 10-week strike at auto parts supplier American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings.

Consumer electronics chain Circuit City Stores said it received a letter from suitor Blockbuster that the company's largest shareholder, financier Carl Icahn, is prepared to buy Circuit City even if the video rental chain can't win the necessary financing or shareholder approval.

Circuit City jumped 28 cents, or 5.9%, to $5.07, while Blockbuster slipped 2 cents to $2.66.

Investors' caution Friday precedes what will likely be a busy week of economic news now that the flow of quarterly earnings reports is beginning to ebb.

"Next week I think will be a fairly important economic week," Orlando said, pointing to expected reports on retail sales, retail inventories, industrial production and regional manufacturing.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 8 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.1 billion shares compared with 1.21 billion traded Thursday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 0.50, or 0.07%, to 720.05.

Overseas, Japan's stock market fell 2.06%. Britain's FTSE index fell 1.05%, Germany's DAX index fell 0.97%, and France's CAC-40 fell 1.88%.

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