Wall Street stumbled Friday after a disappointing first-quarter report from General Electric surprised the market and stoked concern about...
NEW YORK — Wall Street stumbled Friday after a disappointing first-quarter report from General Electric surprised the market and stoked concern about the health of both corporate profits and the wider economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 256.56, or 2 percent, to 12,325.42. GE was by far the steepest decliner among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow. Its shares dropped $4.70, or 13 percent, to $32.05.
Microsoft, also one of the 30 Dow stocks, sank 83 cents Friday to close at $28.28 a share and ended down 3 percent for the week. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell $1.57 Friday to $76.86 but finished up 1.6 percent for the week.
Broader stock indicators also registered sizable losses. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 27.72, or 2 percent, to 1,332.83, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 61.46, or 2.6 percent, to 2,290.24.
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For the week, the Dow lost 2.3 percent, the S&P 500 declined 2.7 percent and the technology-heavy Nasdaq gave up 3.4 percent.
A weaker-than-expected reading showing consumer confidence at a 26-year low subdued any positive sentiment.
GE, which is regarded as a bellwether of big business, said its financial-services divisions have been challenged by the slowing U.S. economy and difficult capital markets. The company also lowered its projections for the entire year.
The conglomerate is one of the early companies to post first-quarter results, and its shortfall stirred worries that others still to report will paint a similarly dreary picture.
The smaller-than-expected profits from GE injected anxiety into a market that earlier this week saw disappointing results from aluminum producer Alcoa and a warning from chip maker Advanced Micro Devices.
“The market really is focusing on the extent to which problems in the credit markets are spilling over into the real economy,” said Brian Gendreau, investment strategist for ING Investment Management.