Updated at 2:52 p.m. ET
NEW YORK - Disappointing results from Amazon.com and more trouble in overseas markets pushed U.S. stocks lower Friday afternoon, though major indexes were bouncing back from the steep losses from earlier in the day.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell
72 points to 15,776 as of 2:52 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped
three points to 1,791 and the Nasdaq composite slipped four points to 4,119.
Friday's sell-off only adds to a tough
January for investors. The Dow is down 5.1 percent, while the S&P 500 has
fallen 3.4 percent. Still, both indexes only recently hit all-time highs and
aren't close to a correction, a Wall Street term for a decline of 10 percent or
more from a peak.
The Dow had fallen by as much as 230
points, so Friday's losses were much less severe by the afternoon. Traders said
this type of trading has happened several times this month.
"There's still a large group of
investors who ... think this market has legs in it and are using any pullback
as a buying opportunity," said Jonathan Corpina, a floor trader on the New
York Stock Exchange with Meridian Equity Partners.
An unexpected fall in eurozone inflation showed the recovery is still weak there. Official figures Friday
showed the inflation rate in the 18-country eurozone dropped to 0.7 percent in
December from 0.9 percent the previous month. That decline has reinforced fears
that the eurozone is about to suffer a Japanese-style bout of deflation, which
can be very difficult to reverse.
The currencies for several countries
fell against the dollar early as turmoil in emerging markets continued. By
afternoon, the Turkish lira was down 0.5 percent against the dollar and the
South African rand lost 0.9 percent.
"Even if there is a problem with
these emerging market economies, we have plenty of evidence that shows that it
doesn't heavily impact the economic momentum of the U.S. and it only mildly
impacts earnings for U.S. companies," said David Kelly, chief market
strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds. "People were looking for an excuse to
Amazon.com fell $38.50, or 9.6
percent, to $364.40. The online shopping giant said its profit and revenue grew in the latest quarter but results fell below what Wall Street was expecting.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, the world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer, said its earnings may come in below the low end of its prior forecasts. After falling as
much as 1.5 percent in morning trading, Wal-Mart bounced back in the afternoon,
adding 35 cents to $75.10.
MasterCard was down $4.12, or 5.2
percent, to $75.64. The credit card processing company reported a profit of 57
cents a share, after one-time adjustments, but the results fell short of the 60
cents analysts forecast. Revenue also missed.
There were bright spots. The video
game company Zynga said Thursday it was buying NaturalMotion, the company
behind the hit mobile games "CSR Racing" and "Clumsy
Ninja." It also said it would cut its workforce by 15 percent. The news
sent Zynga shares soaring, up 73 cents, or 20 percent, to $4.30.
Chipotle Mexican Grill reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings late Thursday, stoking investors'
appetite for the restaurant chain's shares. The stock was up $68.40, or $13.8
percent, to $562.30 - good enough to make it the S&P 500's top gainer.
U.S. homebuilders surged as investors
looked ahead to the coming spring home-selling season, which traditionally
kicks off a week after the Super Bowl. Several builders reported strong home
price growth for the October-December quarter this week. PulteGroup was leading
the rally. It climbed 89 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $20.66.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.67 percent from 2.70 percent on Thursday. As recently as January 3, its yield was 3 percent.