January 14, 2012 in Business

Stocks’ drop chips at week’s gains

Kate Gibson MarketWatch

NEW YORK – U.S. stocks fell Friday, denting weekly gains, after JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported a profit drop and as investors fretted about a possible Greek default and coming downgrades of eurozone nations.

After the close of trading, Standard & Poor’s said it had lowered the long-term ratings of Italy, Portugal and Spain by two notches, and the long-term ratings of Austria and France by one notch. The ratings agency said initiatives taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may fall short of fully addressing systemic stresses in the eurozone.

Nick Raich, director of research at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, chalked up the end-of-week slide to “JPMorgan’s earnings, possibly the fear of Greece defaulting and the overhang of ‘Will the French lose their triple-A credit rating?’ ”

After a 159-point fall, the Dow Jones industrial average finished with a loss of 48.96 points, or 0.4 percent, at 12,422.06. JPMorgan Chase was among its biggest decliners, which included 21 of its 30 components. The blue chips tallied a second consecutive weekly rise, up 0.5 percent from last Friday’s close.

The first major U.S. bank to report results for the fourth quarter, JPMorgan reported revenue fell to $22.2 billion on an adjusted basis, below Wall Street estimates of roughly $23 billion.

The bank’s business is diversified, so it “gives you some flavor” for the coming week, when about 25 percent of the S&P 500 report results, including a slew of financial firms.

“The revenue miss was disappointing, but the banking side for JPMorgan was good, so depending on whether you’re an asset manager or a commercial bank, that will dictate results,” said Raich.

Up 0.9 percent for the week, the S&P 500 index declined 6.41 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,289.09 Friday. The Nasdaq composite index lost 14.03 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,710.67, a level that has it up 1.4 percent from last Friday’s close.

Oil finished the week at $98.70 a barrel. Gold futures ended their session lower at $1,630.80 an ounce.

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