* JP Morgan, Wells Fargo shares fall after results
* Retail sales unexpectedly drop
* Investors lock in gains after record highs
* Indexes down: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 12 U.S. stocks fell on Friday,
pulling back from record levels set a day earlier, after retail
sales unexpectedly dropped last month and results from major
banks failed to impress investors.
Material and energy stocks were also pressured as oil prices
sank to an eight-month low as the outlook for global oil demand
But the decline still put the S&P 500 up about 1.9 percent
for the week, and the Dow up 1.7 percent and Nasdaq up 2.2
"It's not surprising to see profit-taking here going into
the weekend, especially after the run we had this week," said JJ
Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade in
"With the S&P 500 flirting at 1,600 level, it would be very
difficult for companies to blow away the market with earnings.
The cautious outlook, that we are going to soon see a selloff,
is well reflected in the jump in VIX."
The CBOE volatility index VIX, Wall Street's
so-called fear gauge, rose 6.6 percent to 13.05. For the year,
the Dow has gained more than 13 percent and the broader S&P is
up over 11 percent.
JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo were the
biggest companies to report so far, as earnings season got
underway. Shares of both fell and the financial sector
lost 0.8 percent.
Among commodity related stocks, Alcoa Inc was down
1.4 percent at $8.20 and Chevron Corp fell 1.2 percent
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 55.60
points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,809.54. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 11.58 points, or 0.73 percent, at
1,581.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 25.95
points, or 0.79 percent, at 3,274.20.
Data showed retail sales fell 0.4 percent in March, while
February's strong gain was revised down slightly. Consumer
spending plays a key role in the U.S. economy, accounting for
two-thirds of activity.
Another report showed consumer sentiment fell to a
nine-month low in early April amid gloom about the long-term
health prospects for the U.S. economy.
Investors have been rattled by indications economic growth
could be softening, particularly after last week's disappointing
jobs number, though that has not derailed the market rally so
The advance in equities in recent months was partly buoyed
by the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus efforts, and analysts
are viewing the first-quarter earnings season as a test for
whether those gains are justified by corporate performance.
JP Morgan reported higher first-quarter profit, though
revenue declined; its stock was off 0.5 percent to $49.06.
Wells Fargo's profit was better-than-expected but it made
fewer home loans. Its shares were down 2.1 percent at
Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow at a
modest 1.2 percent in the first quarter, down from more than 4
percent forecast in January, according to Thomson Reuters data.