U.S. stocks were lower on Friday after Cisco's disappointing forecast and as weaker-than-expected October retail sales data and forecast cuts by department store chains fueled fears of a slowdown in demand ahead of the key holiday shopping season.

Dow component Cisco (CSCO.O) fell 5.6 percent to $26.27 after it gave a weak forecast, citing a slowdown in order growth and weak spending outside the United States. The stock was the second-biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Data showed U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in October, suggesting a slowdown in consumer spending that could temper expectations of a strong pickup in fourth-quarter economic growth.

The weak data follows disappointing reports from department store chains in the past two days. Macy's (M.N) and Nordstrom (JWN.N) in particular have both reported disappointing results and lowered their full-year forecasts.

"People's confidence that the consumer can somehow offset this industrial recession that we've had is really being shaken to the core with the disappointing numbers from some of these major retailers," said James Abate, CIO of Centre Funds.

U.S. companies, already faced with a potential rate hike in December and a strong dollar, have been reporting signs of slowing demand.

At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 28.66 points, or 0.16 percent, at 17,419.41.

The S&P 500 .SPX was down 3.98 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,041.99 and the Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was down 18.66 points, or 0.37 percent, at 4,986.42.

Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer discretionary sector's .SPLRCD 1.13 percent fall leading the decliners.

Nordstrom (JWN.N) sank 19.8 percent to $50.89. J.C. Penney (JCP.N) slipped 9.2 percent to $7.97 Dillard's (DDS.N) was down 8.2 percent.

Fossil (FOSL.O) dropped 27.6 percent to $36.91 after the watchmaker said sales in the current quarter could fall as much as 16 percent.

The health sector .SPXHC rose 0.66 percent -- the best among the 10 S&P sectors -- boosted by Mylan (MYL.O).

Mylan rose 9.5 percent to $47.30 after it said Perrigo (PRGO.N) shareholders tendered fewer shares than targeted for its $26 billion hostile takeover offer. Perrigo fell 8.4 percent to $143.41. Mylan gave the biggest boost to the S&P and Nasdaq.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,638 to 979. On the Nasdaq, 1,485 issues fell and 658 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and 25 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 66 new lows.