Stocks Slump Again

Stocks ended their best first quarter in years on a down note Friday.

While the indexes continued their recent bout of selling on inflation concerns, they nonetheless ended the quarter up 4-6%. Comments from Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig that interest rates are close to neutral eased interest rate fears somewhat, as bond yields ended the day unchanged after a sharp recent rise.

Google , meanwhile, edged higher ahead of its inclusion in the S&P 500 after the close.

The Nasdaq slipped 1 to 2339, the S&P 500 lost 5 to 1294, and the Dow fell 41 to 11,109. Volume declined to 2.22 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.93 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, and 18-12 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 61% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 164-39 on the NYSE, and 239-24 on the Nasdaq.

Cognos , Saba and Merix rose on their earnings reports, while Genesis Micro , Astea and Peerless tumbled on their results.

HP tacked on 1% on plans to sell its digital TVs in Best Buy stores.

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