By Rodrigo Campos
US stocks have posted their largest weekly drop in more than two months as earnings reports continued to weigh, but the S&P 500 and Dow have managed to close up for April after strong showings mid-month.
Company results once more gave the market direction as a nine percent decline in Gilead Sciences shares weighed the most on both the S&P and the Nasdaq Composite.
Apple shares were down for the tenth session in the last 11 on Friday and closed the week down 11.3 percent, the largest such decline since January 2013.
Its April fall was of 14 percent.
Apple and Gilead, alongside Corning, Goodyear and Xerox are among the companies that reported earnings this week and are closing them with double-digit declines in their stock.
"Every sort of case-by-case blow-up was handled in a company-specific fashion and lo and behold this week we have stumbled into some household names that kind of rolled the market over with them," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 57.12 points, or 0.32 percent, to 17,773.64, the S&P 500 lost 10.51 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,065.3 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 29.93 points, or 0.62 percent, to 4,775.36.
The weekly declines were of 1.3 percent for both the Dow and S&P and the Nasdaq fell 2.7 percent. It was the largest weekly drop for the Dow since the week to Feb. 12, and for the S&P and Nasdaq the declines were the largest going back to Feb. 5.
For the month, only the Nasdaq ended in negative territory.
"Today's fall is just noise after the massive movement we've seen in the past few weeks," said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St. Louis.
Materials stocks on the S&P 500 fell 0.6 percent Friday, taking the index down 0.3 per cent for the week.
However its April gain of 4.9 percent adds to advances in February and March that make the three-month increase of more than 20 percent the largest for the sector in any three consecutive months going back to September 2009.
On Friday Amazon jumped 9.6 percent to US$659.59 after the company's quarterly results blew past analysts' expectations.
First-quarter earnings from S&P 500 components are expected to have fallen 5.7 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Of the 311 companies that have reported, 57 percent reported revenue above analyst expectations, compared with the long-term average of 60 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 1.36-to-1 and on the Nasdaq a 1.81-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted four new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 42 new highs and 32 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges totaled just above 9 billion shares, compared with the 7.0 billion average over the past 20 sessions.