NEW YORK – Wall Street fell on Friday after a slew of big company earnings, including Google and GE, failed to meet heightened expectations that were prompted by optimism about an improving economy.
The market's reaction surprised some after Google Inc (GOOG.O), the Internet search giant, and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) reported results that on the surface appeared strong. But weaker corporate fundamentals and concerns about the rapid rally over recent weeks has sapped the desire to buy on that news.
"Investors had built way too much into stock prices. We've had something like an 11 percent gain since the last earnings season, and then an uninterrupted six-week rally," said Joseph Battipaglia, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Google posted a 23 percent jump in quarterly revenue on a rebound in Web advertising, but the stock dropped 5 percent to $565.60 as some investors were looking for even better results.
Bank of America lost 2.2 percent to $19.04 after the largest U.S. bank by assets reported higher-than-expected earnings but said loan demand remained low.
The KBW Bank index (.BKX) dropped 2.3 percent.
General Electric Co (GE.N) shed 1.9 percent to $19.13 after quarterly revenues came in lowered than expected and new equipment orders were down, even as profit was higher than estimates.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) dropped 43.91 points, or 0.39 percent, to 11,100.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) fell 9.50 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,202.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) lost 15.93 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,499.76.
A private survey showed consumer sentiment took a surprising negative turn in early April due to a persistently grim outlook on income and jobs.
U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in March to their highest level since November 2008 and permits to build new homes hit a 17-month high, the Commerce Department said.