Stocks fell early Friday as investors found few reasons to buy following a volatile week and ahead of a keenly anticipated speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The economy grew much slower than previously thought in the second quarter, the government said, adding to the cautious tone.
Many analysts believe Bernanke, scheduled to speak on Friday at 10 a.m. EDT, is most likely to outline gradualist measures -- disappointing those looking for a more dramatic move, such as a fresh round of asset purchases.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 112.62 points, or 1.01 percent, at 11,037.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 11.77 points, or 1.02 percent, at 1,147.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 18.36 points, or 0.76 percent, at 2,401.27.
Banks, among the most volatile names in recent sessions, were early losers. Bank of America Corp
Technology stocks limited losses on the Nasdaq, with Micron Technology Inc
The Dow is up 3.1 percent for the week, the Nasdaq is ahead 3.3 percent, and the CBOE Volatility index <.VIX> is down 7.6 percent.
The S&P has gained 3.2 percent, but it remains to be seen whether stocks can gather enough steam for an extended rally. Analysts view 1,120 as a key support level for the index.
Wall Street also took cues from overseas. In Europe, shares <.FTEU3> fell 2 percent on nervousness ahead of Bernanke's speech.
Tiffany and Co
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)