U.S. stocks fell on Friday, led by financial stocks as reports painting a mixed economic picture dented optimism fed by the economy's return to growth.

On the heels of a government report that showed gross domestic product grew at its best rate in two years, Friday's data showed Midwest area manufacturing was strong, but consumer sentiment slipped this month.

The Nasdaq <.IXIC> was on track to post its first month of decline in eight and the S&P 500 struggled to end the month in positive territory, evidence of a loss in steam after a rally that drove stocks up nearly 60 percent from lows hit in March.

The market's had a huge run up and hedge funds and money managers are coming into crunch time, said Tom Alexander, head of Alexander Trading in Savannah, Georgia.

Those that had these huge gains may have a finger on the trigger, locking in some of those gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> lost 135.58 points, or 1.36 percent, to 9,827.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 15.49 points, or 1.45 percent, to 1,050.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 28.34 points, or 1.35 percent, to 2,069.21.

Among the biggest decliners, an S&P index of financial stocks <.GSPF> fell 3 percent, while an S&P energy sector index <.GSPE> lost 2.7 percent. Dow component Chevron Corp fell 1.9 percent to $76.48 as the major oil company's quarterly profit tumbled 51 percent, hurt partly by a sharp drop in oil and natural gas prices.

MetLife Inc dropped 6 percent to $34.63 after the No. 1 U.S. life insurer posted its third straight quarterly loss, while Aon Corp lost 6.1 percent to $38.69 as revenue declined. The KBW insurance index insurers <.KIX> was down 3.1 percent.

Bucking the trend in the sector, Genworth Financial Inc shares jumped 3.4 percent to $10.53 after the insurer reported a net operating profit on Thursday that beat Wall Street's expectations.

NYSE Euronext said it is selling a significant equity interest in its derivatives exchange NYSE Liffe U.S. at the same time it reported a drop in earnings. Its shares dropped 3.4 percent to $26.64.

Shares of McAfee Inc slid 6.5 percent to $40.90 the day after the security software maker reported revenue that missed estimates as sales grew at their slowest rate in nearly two years.

Novatel Wireless Inc tumbled 27.2 percent to $8.88 on Nasdaq after it warned sales of its mobile wi-fi product would be flat to lower.

On the final trading day of the month, the S&P 500 was down 0.99 percent for October. If the index is unable to hold onto the month's gains, it will snap a seven-month winning streak. At midday's levels, the Nasdaq was down 2.7 percent for the month, while the Dow was up 1 percent.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)