US STOCKS-Wall St dips as small-caps underperform again

Fri May 16, 2014 1:20pm EDT

* Russell 2000 approaches correction territory again

* J.C. Penney, Nordstrom soar a day after results

* Dow off 0.1 pct; S&P 500 off 0.1 pct; Nasdaq down 0.3 pct (Updates to midday, adds Pfizer and Chesapeake news)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on Friday, trimming some of their earlier declines after some positive earnings, though investors remained wary of lingering weakness in small-cap names.

Despite the S&P 500 hitting a record on Tuesday, the indexes were on track for a negative week, with small-caps down for a fourth straight session.

The Russell 2000 briefly entered correction territory on Thursday, defined as a 10 percent decline from a recent high. It subsequently pulled back and is 9.6 percent below its high, suggesting that the level is serving as support.

Still, the Russell 2000 is solidly below its 200-day moving average, a sign of weak momentum, and investors are worried that prolonged weakness in small-cap names could be a precursor of broader losses. The Russell 2000 was down 0.4 percent at midday on Friday.

"We're in the middle of a rolling sector correction, where some areas of the market are performing better than others," said Jerry Harris, president of asset management at Sterne Agee in Birmingham, Alabama, who noted that the S&P 500 hit an all-time record on Tuesday.

"The weakness we're seeing in the Russell gives us an opportunity to buy those names at a discount, and sets them up for a healthy recovery later this year."

In earnings news, J.C. Penney Co and Nordstrom Inc both jumped more than 10 percent a day after posting earnings that exceeded forecasts. Nordstrom was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer.

Applied Materials rose 6 percent to $19.82 after reporting revenue that was slightly ahead of expectations. Autodesk Inc raised its full-year revenue view, sending its stock up 6.5 percent to $50.91. Both companies reported earnings after the market closed on Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14.06 points or 0.09 percent, to 16,432.75. The S&P 500 slipped 1.06 points or 0.06 percent, to 1,869.79. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.60 points or 0.26 percent, to 4,058.69.

For the week, the Dow was down 0.9 percent, the S&P 500 was down 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq was off 0.4 percent.

Chesapeake Energy Corp was the S&P 500's biggest decliner, falling 4.6 percent to $27.67 afer the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer said it expects to raise more than $4 billion this year from asset sales and by spinning off its oilfield services division.

Shares of travel review website TripAdvisor Inc slid 3.1 percent to $80.98 and weighed on the Nasdaq 100.

Pfizer Inc rose 0.9 percent to $29.29 after the Dow component said it would submit a new drug application for Palbociclib, a breast cancer treatment.

Housing starts jumped 13.2 percent in April while building permits hit their highest in nearly six years, offering hope that the troubled housing market could be stabilizing. The PHLX housing sector index gained 0.3 percent. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jan Paschal)

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