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US STOCKS-Bank stocks drag Wall Street lower after earnings

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 18:00 hrs

* Wells Fargo results weigh on financials, JPMorgan dips

* AMD slumps after revenue warning

* Consumer sentiment data beats expectations

* Dow dips 0.1 pct, S&P 500 off 0.4 pct, Nasdaq down 0.2 pct

By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday, led by financial stocks, after Wells Fargo & Co said quarterly revenue fell short of expectations.

Shares of Wells Fargo shed 3.5 percent to $33.96 after reporting a quarterly revenue of $21.2 billion, which missed analysts' forecasts, even as it earned a record profit.

The shortfall prompted investors to sell other bank shares, including those of JPMorgan Chase & Co, which also reported a record profit for the quarter. JPMorgan slid 1.6 percent to $41.40, while the KBW Bank index lost 2.63 percent.

Wells Fargo was hurt by a lower net interest margin - the difference between what it pays on deposits and makes on loans - and that margin could narrow further as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates ultra low.

"A drop in interest margins suggests that the Federal Reserve's lower interest rates are going to negatively impact bank profitability in the foreseeable future," said Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist at Capitol Securities Management in Richmond, Virginia.

Indeed, expectations are low in general for the S&P 500 companies' quarterly earnings. Overall, earnings are expected to fall 3 percent from a year ago, compared with a 2.1 percent drop estimated at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The market drew little support from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary October reading on consumer sentiment, which rose to 83.1, well above a forecast 78.

"We trade on the data and the market is suggesting it's not as strong as it looks," said Engelke. "If the economy was as strong as suggested by the data, equities would be up and the bond market would be traded a lot as well."

Despite several encouraging data points this week, the benchmark S&P index has shed 2.2 percent in the week so far and is on track for its worst weekly performance since it fell 3 percent in the week ended June 1.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 15.15 points, or 0.11 percent, at 13,311.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped 5.31 points, or 0.37 percent, to 1,427.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.50 points, or 0.18 percent, at 3,043.91.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc fell 10.4 percent to $2.86 a day after the chipmaker said its third-quarter revenue probably fell 10 percent from the previous quarter as a weak global economy and a growing preference for tablets slams the PC industry.

U.S.-listed shares of STMicroelectronics shot up 7.1 percent to $6.07 after Bloomberg reported Europe's top semiconductor maker was considering a breakup that could lead to the sale of its struggling mobile-phone chip business.

The U.S. Commerce Department said its core Producer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, was flat in September, compared with August.




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