U.S. stocks fell on Friday after disappointing results from General Electric Co
GE, which sells products from aircraft engines to refrigerators, reported a 20 percent drop in revenue, while Bank of America posted a $1 billion loss as both struggled with still meager business and consumer spending.
As you came into the third quarter there was hypersensitivity to the quality of topline growth, said Michael Feser, president of Zecco Trading in New York.
Investors are linking that to the economy, trying to determine if these are quality earnings that are being reported and does it spell a solid economic recovery?
Friday's results contrasted sharply with those of JPMorgan Chase & Co
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 67.03 points, or 0.67 percent, to 9,995.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 8.88 points, or 0.81 percent, to 1,087.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gave up 16.49 points, or 0.76 percent, at 2,156.80.
Analysts said investors may have become too optimistic going into the earnings season, in contrast to the second quarter when the bar was set low. The search for revenue growth has been a key theme after the last two quarters were characterized by cost cutting.
Bank of America's shares fell 4.6 percent to $17.26, and GE dropped 4.2 percent to $16.08.
But indexes gained for the second straight week with the S&P 500 up 1.5 percent, the Dow up 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq up 0.8 percent. The Dow slipped from its perch at 10,000 after breaking the key barrier for the first time in a year earlier in the week.
Data showing weak consumer sentiment further pressured the market on Friday and overshadowed an earlier report that showed industrial production rose in September.
But International Business Machines Corp
The market will continue to feel the push and pull as earnings season revs up next week and investors react to individual corporate results.
Investors are having a healthy and traditional debate on when the recovery arrives as to what it's going to look like, said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Advisors in Boston.
Major companies reporting next week include Apple Inc
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)