U.S. stocks started lower on Friday, retreating after the S&P 500's best two-day rise so far this year, as investors pondered a report showing slower-than-expected growth in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 59 points to 12,927. The S&P 500 lost 6 points to 1,381. The Nasdaq Composite fell 16 points to 3,038. Earnings are starting to come in better than expected. Google, JP Morgan, and Wells Fargo beat estimates and all three initially traded higher, but now are succumbing to profit-taking. The whole financial and tech sector are under a little pressure after a phenomenal first quarter. Google is down 2.5% exactly the same amount it went up yesterday. Even Apple is under pressure. SAP is lower following earnings in Europe overnight. Nokia keeps pushing lower, day after day. The housing market is following the financials lower. Toll Brothers and Pulte Homes are lower on upgrades. KB Homes is lower after reducing their dividend. I didn't even know they had a dividend. The materials, industrials, and transports are down after a nice bounce yesterday. The energy space is under pressure. The coal stocks like Arch Coal and Patriot Coals are getting hit as the sector has to cut production due to lower demand. Ensco received an upgrade being called a premier oil driller yet the stock is lower by 2%. The defensive sectors like utilities and consumer staples are performing well this morning. Altria is higher on an upgrade. Through the first hour the averages pushed lower. Two down days to start the week followed by two great up days, and then ending with another down day today. The volatility is back. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages remained weak. The Dow fell over 100 points before rebounding thanks to Caterpillar, Home Depot, and Kraft. The Nasdaq isn't rebounding as Google and Apple pushed lower. In the last hour the averages reaccelerated to the downside with the Dow dropping over 100 points led by the financials. The Nasdaq and the techs have been weak all day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 136 points, or 1.1%, at 12,849, its largest weekly hit since the middle of December. The S&P 500 dropped 17 points, or 1.3%, to 1,370, off 2% from the week ago close. The Nasdaq Composite retreated by 44 points, or 1.5%, to 3,011, leaving it down 2.3% from last Friday's close.
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