US stocks end volatile week sharply lower

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks Friday finished a volatile week sharply lower following a disappointing US economic growth report and worrisome data on euro zone inflation.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,173.10, down 243.75 points (1.40 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 sank 25.94 (1.28 per cent) to 1,995.31, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 48.17 (1.03 per cent) to 4,635.31.

US economic growth came in at 2.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, well below the 5 per cent in the prior quarter, according to Commerce Department data.

Analysts also pointed to the drag from a euro zone inflation report, which showed consumer prices fell by a record 0.6 per cent in January, raising fears that deflation is taking hold in the region.

A busy week of corporate earnings produced mixed results, with some companies pointing to the drag from the strong dollar.

"The market is pretty cautious," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

"We came into this earnings season with expectations for more than we're getting."