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Stocks See Further Downside Following Early Weakness - U.S. Commentary

4/13/2012 11:00 AM ET

After moving lower in early trading on Friday, stocks have seen some further downside over the course of the morning. The major averages have slid more firmly into negative territory, partly offsetting the strong gains posted in the two previous sessions.

Much of the weakness on Wall Street stems from the release of some disappointing Chinese economic data, with a report from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics showing that Chinese economic growth slowed to 8.1 percent in the first quarter from 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

Traders have also shown a negative reaction to quarterly results from JP Morgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), which are moving lower despite reporting better than expected first quarter earnings.

Financial stocks are under pressure following the news from JP Morgan and Wells Fargo, with the KBW Bank Index and the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index down by 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Significant weakness has also emerged among steel stocks, which are moving back to the downside after rising sharply on Thursday. The NYSE Arca Steel Index is down by 2 percent and surging up by 4.7 percent in the previous session.

Biotechnology, oil service, and housing stocks have also come under pressure, moving lower along with most of the major sectors.

The major averages have edged up off their lows for the session in the past few minutes but remain stuck in the red. The Dow is down 99.30 points or 0.8 percent at 12,887.28, the Nasdaq is down 36.51 points or 1.2 percent at 3,019.04 and the S&P 500 is down 12.70 points or 0.9 percent at 1,374.87.

by RTT Staff Writer

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