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New York - US stocks were little changed on Friday, with indexes on track for their biggest weekly drop in months, as an early ream of corporate earnings wasn't enough to entice buyers even after a string of market losses.
While the Nasdaq was lifted by strength in Internet names, the S&P 500 is down for a fourth session out of the past five as recent concerns about economic growth, especially in Europe, have pushed investors to take profits.
The benchmark index is about 1.2 percent from a record closing high hit last week.
Wells Fargo & Co reported revenue that beat expectations, though for the first time since 2009, the bank did not increase its earnings-per-share from the preceding quarter.
The stock fell 1.5 percent to $51.01 as one of the biggest decliners on the S&P 500.
Fastenal Co slumped 4.6 percent to $45.92 after revenue missed expectations.
“Wells came in a little light, and while there was nothing really wrong with the quarter, it is one of the few banks that can be counted on to beat profit expectations and that didn't happen,” said Matthew Kaufler, portfolio manager at Federated Investors in Rochester, New York.
“Earnings look like they might be a little light.”
Only 5 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported thus far, and about 56 percent beat earnings expectations, below the long-term average of 63 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Next week, dozens of highly watched names - including several Dow components - are expected to report results.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 16.67 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,898.4, the S&P 500 lost 0.76 points or 0.04 percent, to 1,963.92 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.29 points, or 0.23 percent, to 4,406.49.
For the week, the Dow is down 1 percent, the S&P is down 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq is down 1.8 percent.
It is the biggest weekly decline for all three indexes since April.
The CBOE Volatility index is up almost 20 percent this week, its biggest weekly spike since April.
In a cautious signal, the S&P remains under its 14-day moving average, a sign of weak near-term momentum.
Internet companies supported the Nasdaq, with Amazon.com up 4.2 percent at $341.59 and eBay up 2.4 percent at $51.54.
Whirlpool Corp rose 1.9 percent to $141.91 after the company agreed to buy 66.8 percent of voting stock of Italy's Indesit Company SpA for about $1.03 billion.
Reynolds American confirmed it is in talks to acquire Lorillard in a multi-billion dollar deal that would include the sale of some brands to Britain's Imperial Tobacco.
Shares of Reynolds fell 0.5 percent to $61.97 while Lorillard rose 5.6 percent to $66.63 as the S&P's biggest gainer. - Reuters