Stocks fell on Friday as a bearish brokerage view on Apple Inc ignited a sell-off in shares of big-cap tech companies, while fears over the fate of the banking system persisted.

A 6 percent slide in Apple shares helped drag the Nasdaq to a 6-year intraday low, while the Dow industrials and S&P 500 indexes hit fresh 12-year lows.

Banks were among top drags, with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs both down more than 8 percent. The S&P financial index <.GSPF> fell 5.2 percent.

JPMorgan cut its price target and profit views on Apple, sending the shares of the iPod and iPhone maker down 6.2 percent to $83.33.

Tech fared fairly decently over the last couple weeks compared to the market overall. But with the overhang of a failing banking system it is still risky to own any kind of equity. (The) Apple (news) clearly doesn't help, said Gary Wedbush, head of trading at regional investment bank Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.

It is not so much capital rotation between sectors as it is sectors staying in line with the entire market. But the whole market has been dragged down by the financial sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 74.39 points, or 1.13 percent, to 6,520.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 10.68 points, or 1.56 percent, to 671.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> slid 22.93 points, or 1.76 percent, to 1,276.66.

The sell-off put the S&P 500 on the verge of its worst week since October.

In economic news, a government report showed the U.S. unemployment rate rose last month to its highest since 1983 as 651,000 jobs were cut.

The gloomy jobs picture is disconcerting news both for companies and for consumers, whose spending drives corporate profits. The S&P retailers index <.RLX> fell 3.3 percent while Wal-Mart fell 2.1 percent to $48.73.

Shares of chip-maker Qualcomm slid 4.7 percent to $33.00, making it the second-worst Nasdaq drag behind Apple.

The sell-off also pummeled other tech sector bellwethers, including Dow components International Business Machines Corp and Hewlett-Packard , both down 3.2 percent.

Shares of car maker and Dow component General Motors plunged more than 24 percent to $1.40 a day after auditors raised doubts about the company's viability. GM has lost more than 90 percent of its market value in the past 52 weeks.

On the upside, shares of Dow Chemical and Rohm and Haas rose 7 percent and 18.5 percent after the companies confirmed discussions are underway about their troubled merger. Dow agreed last July to buy Rohm for $78 a share but then pulled out of the deal.

In other deal news, Roche Holding AG raised its offer to buy out the minority shareholders of Genentech Inc to $93 a share from $86.50, sending shares of the U.S. biotech group up more than 10 percent to $90.05.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)