Earnings reports push stocks down
Stocks slipped Friday, pushing the market to a weekly loss, as investors assessed the latest round of company earnings.
Express Scripts, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager, fell after its fourth-quarter earnings slipped, hurt by the loss of UnitedHealth, a large customer. Groupon plunged after the online deals company said it expects to post a loss this quarter and issued a weak outlook for the year.
The stock market got a boost earlier this month from decent corporate earnings and optimism that the economy will start to pull out of its winter slump as the weather improves.
While investors have been willing to overlook much of the recent weak economic data, they appear reluctant to push the stock market back above its recent highs before they see firmer evidence that the economy is sustaining its recovery.
Investors are "giving the economic data points a bit of a free pass, but at the same time they're not fully convinced either," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners, a wealth management firm.
The S&P 500 index fell 0.19 percent, to 1,836.25. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 29.93 points to 16,103.30. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.10 percent, to 4,263.41. -- AP