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Continued: Stocks fall at end of volatile month but still up big for half-year; BlackBerry maker plunges

  • Article by: BERNARD CONDON , AP Business Writer
  • Last update: June 28, 2013 - 5:30 PM

Meanwhile, the Chicago Business Barometer sank to 51.6 from a 14-month high of 58.7 in May. That was well below the level of 55 that economists polled by FactSet were expecting.

Bill Strazzullo, chief strategist of Bell Curve Trading, is worried stock investors will sell on any signs the Fed is slowing its economic stimulus program.

"This rally is still very much being supported by monetary easing by central banks," he said. He added, referring to Friday's quiet trading: "It's the calm before the storm."

The S&P 500 has gained 13.8 percent since the start of the year, including dividends. That is its best performance in a first half of the year since 1998, when it gained 17.7 percent.

On Friday, eight of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 were down for the day, led by health care companies. They fell 0.9 percent.

In commodities trading, gold gained $12.10 to $1,223.70 an ounce. The price of crude oil fell 49 cents to $96.56 a barrel. The dollar rose against the euro and the Japanese yen.

Among stocks making big moves:

— BlackBerry maker Research In Motion plunged $4.02, or 28 percent, to $10.46 after the company posted a surprise loss in the first quarter and warned of future losses despite releasing its new line of smartphones this year. The company also discontinued making new versions of its slow-selling tablet computer, The Playbook.

— Accenture fell $8.26, or 10 percent, to $71.96. The consulting firm cut its revenue and profit outlook for its fiscal year ending in August. Revenue was hurt by lower demand in Europe as well as in its communications, media and technology division.

— Hospira rose $2.16, or 6 percent, to $38.31. The drug company said it had received a positive opinion from a European drug regulator for a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis, among other illnesses. A final decision could come in three months.

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