Stocks ended lower on Friday as falling oil prices failed to offset a larger-than-expected drop in consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 53.34, or 0.5 percent, to 10,397.29, the index's lowest close in seven weeks. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 7.27, or 0.6 percent, to 1,205.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 13.60, or 0.6 percent, to 2,120.77.

Oil prices fell more than $1 a barrel Friday as it became clear that Hurricane Katrina was unlikely to disrupt refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Light sweet crude for October delivery fell $1.36 to settle at $66.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

And U.S. consumer optimism fell more than expected in August from July due to record gasoline prices at the height of the summer driving season, the University of Michigan said. Its reading on consumer confidence at the end of August was 89.1, down from a 96.5 final reading for July.

Among local companies, shares of real estate developers and homebuilders dropped after Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned that buying power fueled by rising prices for assets such as homes could disappear if investors turn cautious. Commercial real estate services company CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. fell 5.4 percent to $43.30. Real estate investment trust Macerich Co. fell 2.1 percent to $63.32. Homebuilders KB Home and Ryland Group Inc. slipped 1.4 percent to $70.09 and 1.4 percent to $69.57, respectively.

Guess Inc. lost 1.6 percent to $21.60 after the L.A.-based apparel and accessories company announced that it and Fossil Inc. are in advanced negotiations for a 10-year licensing agreement in which Fossil will make and distribute Guess and Guess Collection watches beginning in January 2007.

And Peerless Systems Corp. gained 12.7 percent to $5.25 after the El Segundo-based digital imaging and networking company said late Thursday that its net income rose to $1.1 (6 cents per diluted share) for the second quarter ended July 31, compared with a loss of $1.5 million (9 cents) for the like period a year ago.

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