NEW YORK - U.S. stocks fell Thursday following reports of slower economic growth in the U.S. and mixed earnings reports. The U.S. government said the economy didn't grow as much as expected in the first three months of this year. Facebook reached an all-time high after a strong quarterly report, and several companies are moving on deal news.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 211 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,831, with Apple leading declines among its 30 components, all of which ended in the red. Shares of the iPhone maker dropped 3.1 percent after Carl Icahn told CNBC he had unloaded his entire position in Apple on concerns of low demand for its products in China.
Apple's stock fell 9 percent this week after it reported a sizeable drop in iPhone sales. Icahn, a longtime booster, told CNBC he still thinks Apple is a "great company." But he said he worries about Chinese regulators, who recently blocked Apple's online services. Apple has been hoping to expand in China.
Icahn last year called it a "no-brainer" to invest in Apple, predicting the company could be worth $1 trillion. At that point, he owned 53 million shares, valued then at $6.5 billion, nearly 1 percent of the company. The stock has fallen 20 percent since then, but Icahn said he still made $2 billion from selling his shares.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,076. The Nasdaq composite, which has fallen for five days in a row, fell 58 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,805.
The U.S. economy grew a bit less than expected in the first quarter. The government said gross domestic product increased just 0.5 percent as consumer spending slowed down, exports kept falling, and business investment plunged. That's the weakest result in two years, but experts think the economy will bounce back in the current quarter.
Phone and utility companies, which jumped Wednesday, took some of the largest losses.
Most of the day's big deals were in health care. In the largest, medical device maker Abbott Laboratories said it will buy St. Jude Medical for $19.3 billion, combining Abbott's heart devices, heart valve products and infant formula business with St. Jude's heart failure and heart rhythm device products.
French drugmaker Sanofi went public with an offer to buy cancer drug maker Medivation for $9.3 billion, or $52.50 per share.
Drugmaker AbbVie said it will buy privately-held Stemcentrx for $5.8 billion. Stemcentrx is developing a drug that uses stem cells to treat small cell lung cancer.
Comcast's NBCUniversal unit will buy DreamWorks Animation, the movie studio behind the "Kung Fu Panda" and "How to Train Your Dragon" franchises, for $3.55 billion. The deal values DreamWorks at $41 a share.
Hanesbrands, a maker of underwear, t-shirts and socks, said it will buy the biggest maker of underwear in Australia. The company said its offer values Pacific Brands Ltd. at $800 million. Hanesbrands has also made a series of deals to give it more control of the Champion brand overseas.
Facebook reached an all-time high after first-quarter profit nearly tripled. Revenue was also better than expected. Online payments company PayPal gained after its net income and revenue surpassed estimates.
Consumer companies traded higher. Colgate-Palmolive reported strong results as sales of toothpaste, body washes, cleaners and other products improved. Its sales were better than expected. Cigarette maker Altria posted a larger-than-expected profit and gained.
Nutritional supplement company GNC Holdings plunged after it reported weak first-quarter results, including lower vitamin sales. The company also said it will sell 84 stores to a franchise operator.
Harman International, which makes automotive electronics and audio equipment, reported first-quarter results that didn't meet analyst projections. The company also cut its forecasts for the rest of the year. Harman said revenue from a business that makes equipment for restaurants, sports arenas and other businesses fell.