After showing a notable decline earlier in the session, stocks continue to show considerable weakness during early afternoon trading on Friday. The weakness comes as investors react to some mixed economic news and take profits following the recent market rally.
In economic news, the Commerce Department released its report on personal income and spending in the month of February. While the report showed an increase in spending that came in line with estimates, income fell by a little more than expected.
The final reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for March was also released earlier, showing a revised reading of 57.3. Economists had expected the consumer sentiment index to be lifted to 56.8 from the mid-month reading of 56.6.
Additionally, Obama is meeting today with the CEOs of JP Morgan (JPM), Citigroup (C), and Goldman Sachs (GS) as well as executives from industry associations, to discuss the economy and the administration's proposals to increase regulation of the financial system.
The major averages have moved to the downside in recent trading, although they remain well off their worst levels of the day. The Dow is currently down 121.78 at 7,802.78, the Nasdaq is down 27.10 at 1,559.90 and the S&P 500 is down 12.12 at 820.74.
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