* Wall St extends pullback after worst week of the year
* Earnings, economic worries offset monetary stimulus
* Lufkin Industries up 37 pct planned purchase by GE
* Indexes down: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.2, Nasdaq 0.1 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, April 8 Wall Street waned on Monday as
investors faced the prospect of a lackluster corporate earnings
season and an economy that could be hitting a slow patch.
The early pullback extended Friday's declines that had
pushed the market into its worst week for the year. Defensive
shares led the downside move on Monday, including the
telecommunications sector, which lost 1 percent.
Earnings forecasts have been scaled back heading into
first-quarter reports. S&P 500 earnings are expected to have
risen just 1.6 percent from a year ago, according to Thomson
Reuters data, down from a 4.3 percent forecast in January.
Stocks have rallied strongly this year with major indexes
hitting record highs, helped in part by the Federal Reserve's
stimulus program. The S&P 500 is up nearly 9 percent for the
year so far, while the Dow has gained just under 11 percent.
"It's a little easier to pull the trigger and take some
profits when you're on the fringe of an earnings season that
might not be as good as what the stock market has indicated with
a phenomenal first quarter," said Alan Lancz, president at Alan
B. Lancz & Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio.
A worse-than-expected jobs report on Friday also added to
fears that the pace of economic growth could be softening after
generally upbeat data at the start of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 44.00
points, or 0.30 percent, to 14,521.25. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was off 2.75 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,550.53.
The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 3.34 points, or 0.10
percent, to 3,200.52.
But loose monetary policy from central banks around the
world still makes equities attractive to investors and pullbacks
could be used as buying opportunities, analysts said.
The Bank of Japan started its bond purchases after it
announced last week it will inject about $1.4 trillion into the
economy in less than two years.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will give a speech later on Monday
after markets are closed. Investors have been watching for any
insight into the Fed's thinking on how long the central bank
will keep its asset purchase program in place as it tries to
boost the economic recovery.
General Electric Co said it will buy oilfield
services provider Lufkin Industries Inc for about $3.3
billion, sending Lufkin shares up 38 percent to $88.20. GE was
off 0.2 percent at $22.89.