With traders expressing renewed concerns about corporate earnings and the outlook for the global economy, stocks are seeing notable weakness in mid-afternoon trading on Friday. The major averages remain stuck firmly in the red, although selling pressure has waned from earlier in the session.
The weakness on Wall Street is partly due to 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 also reacted negatively 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 2.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
Considerable weakness also remains visible among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2.2 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. The weakness in the sector comes as crude for May delivery is sliding $0.71 to $102.93 a barrel.
Most of the other major sectors have also moved to the downside on the day, with steel, biotechnology, gold, and telecom stocks posting notable losses.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in afternoon trading, lingering firmly in negative territory. The Dow is down 76.67 points or 0.6 percent at 12,909.91, the Nasdaq is down 34.45 points or 1.1 percent at 3,021.10 and the S&P 500 is down 11.60 points or 0.8 percent at 1,375.97.
by RTT Staff Writer
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