Stocks closed lower in heavy trading Friday after a late spurt of computer-driven sell programs knocked the market's attempt to finish an aimless but bumpy session in positive territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which rose 9.84 points Thursday, fell back 24.15 points to 3324.46.Philip Roth, chief technical analyst at Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., said the market's "early firming or attempt to rally was based on bargain-hunting in growth stocks like drugs. But a lack of follow-through made people think of not wanting to be long over the weekend."

Roth said the market had been "earnings-driven, but most of the earnings reports are already behind and people have started focusing on the macroeconomics."

He said most investors were concerned about the weakness of bond prices, resulting in higher yields of around 8 percent, because they "think the economic recovery is fragile and an increase in interest rates could cut off the upturn."

Among the broad gauges, the New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 1.04 to 225.12 and Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 2.58 to 409.02. The price of an average share lost 17 cents.

After a neck-and-neck race, declines nosed out advances 867-808 among the 2,201 issues crossing the NYSE tape.

Adjusted volume amounted to 198,750,000 shares, compared with 235,730,000 in the same period Thursday.

Stocks ended narrowly mixed on the American Stock Exchange and in over-the-counter trading.

Key U.S. government securities were slightly higher, with the bellwether 30-year bond ahead 4/32 to 99 16/32 for a yield of 8.04 percent, down from 8.05 percent late Thursday.

Gene Seagle, technical research director at Gruntal & Co., said the market was "marking time after a very good advance last week and is getting ready to renew that advance."

Although first-quarter earnings reports have been mixed, he said there have been more better-than-expected ones.

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Referring to the previous session's sell-off, Seagle said some investors were "upset psychologically by the outstanding weakness in drug stocks, but it's just a temporary thing."

"The market is basically responding to earnings reports, which basically have been positive, with a few bombs," said Gail Dudack, market analyst with S.G. Warburg & Co.

"There is no obvious trend in the general market, but one positive underlying tone is the firm bond market," she said.

General Motors announced Friday it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a global public offering of 50 million shares of common stock.

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