NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Wall Street fell on Friday (Oct 18) as negative headlines about Johnson & Johnson and Boeing, along with bleak economic data from China, soured investor risk appetite and offset generally positive corporate earnings.
All three major US stock averages ended the session in the red, but the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted weekly gains. The blue-chip Dow was nominally lower than last week's close.
Boeing Co and Johnson & Johnson shares led both the S&P 500's and the Dow's declines.
Boeing dropped 6.8% after Reuters reported that text messages between two employees suggested the planemaker misled the Federal Aviation Administration about the safety of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft.
Johnson & Johnson announced it would recall baby powder in the United States after regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in a sample, sending its shares falling 6.2%.
Growth of China's gross domestic product slowed to its weakest pace in nearly 30 years as the bruising trade war with the United States took its toll, stoking fears of slowdown contagion.
The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for global growth this year to 3%, which would mark the slowest expansion since the financial crisis.
"There's no question that there's signs out there that the economy is weakening," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
Today's market weakness "has to do with (GDP) news out of China, Boeing and Johnson & Johnson," Cardillo added, saying"market sentiment in terms of earnings is positive."
Third-quarter earnings season has hit full stride, with 73 companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 83.6% have come in above average estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Still, analysts currently see S&P 500 earnings dropping by 3.1% compared with last year, which would mark the first contraction since the earnings recession that ended mid-2016.
Schlumberger NV gained 1.3% after the oilfield services company posted its largest quarterly loss ever as a result of a $12 billion charge as Chief Executive Olivier Le Peuch moved to shift focus toward software and services.
American Express Co reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit as consumers boosted their spending. Still, the credit card issuer's shares dipped 2.0%.
Coca-Cola Co's revenue beat expectations and an upbeat forecast gave its shares a 1.8% boost.
Kansas City Southern jumped 7.3% after the railroad operator also beat profit expectations, on increased petroleum shipments to Mexico.
Next week, market participants look forward to high profile results from Procter & Gamble Co, United Parcel Service Inc Caterpillar Inc, Boeing, Microsoft Corp , Ford Motor Co, 3M Co, Twitter Inc , Amazon.com, and others.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 255.68 points, or 0.95%, to 26,770.2, the S&P 500 lost 11.75 points, or 0.39%, to 2,986.2 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 67.31 points, or 0.83%, to 8,089.54.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, seven closed in the red, with tech, communications services and industrials suffering the biggest percentage declines.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.41-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 51 new highs and 59 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 6.24 billion shares, compared with the 6.55 billion average over the last 20 trading days.