Dow less than 100 points away from all-time high

Stocks set to open lower Friday

By Anneken Tappe, CNN Business
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Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on in New York City.

(CNN) - Stocks slipped in the final minutes of trading on Friday, disappointing hopes for another record finish.

The Dow closed 0.1%, or 34 points, lower. Just a few minutes before the close, the index had been on pace for its best day since October. The Dow finished just 0.4% below the closing record it hit in October.

The S&P 500 finished 0.1% lower. It was previously on track for a record that would have surpassed Thursday's all-time closing high. The Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.2%.

For the week, the Dow is up 2.4%, while the S&P has gained 2.2%. The Nasdaq is up 3% for the week, according to Refinitiv.

"It's shaping up to be a relatively peaceful end to what has been an otherwise action-packed week," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda at the start of the trading day.

Stocks rallied on Thursday in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve indicating it could cut interest rates up to two times this year to boost economic growth. Lower interest rates make is cheaper for companies to borrow money.

But amid all the excitement about a possible rate cut, tensions between the United States and Iran escalated. Iran shot down a US drone in international airspace earlier this week. Military retaliation from Washington was planned but called off.

Gold prices rose to six-year highs over night, inching above $1,400 an ounce. Gold futures settled at $1396.20 an ounce, up 0.2%, according to data from CME.

Gold is a traditional safe haven investment, for which demand increases when investors worry about economic or geopolitical developments. With the Fed pointing at enough weakness in the US economy to potentially cut rates, and tensions between the United States and Iran escalating, both drivers are in place.

Oil prices are also impacted by the developments. US oil futures were up more than 5% on Thursday, and continued to climb on Friday. Oil futures settled 1.4% higher at $57.43 a barrel.

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