A bit of selling pressure sent major averages lower at the end of an otherwise upbeat week on Wall Street as Bank of America and General Electric’s numbers disappointed investors.  The Dow Jones industrial average, after closing above the 10,000 mark for two successive sessions, finished just below that level.  Despite the drop, stocks managed to post impressive gains on the week even as investors grew jittery about credit losses in the financial sector. 

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) said it lost $2.2 billion during the quarter after it wrote down almost $10 billion in bad loans and General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) revenue numbers were below Street projections.  Higher loan losses aggravated investors’ concerns as Citigroup (NYSE:C) and JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) had also reported higher loan losses during the quarter.  General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) results were impacted by lower earnings at its GE Capital unit.    

The 30-share Dow Jones industrial average fell 67.03 points, or 0.67%, to close at 9,995.91. The broad Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index retreated 8.88 points, or 0.81%, at 1,087.68.  The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 16.49 points, or 0.76%, to 2,156.80.

Last week only 61 of the S&P500 released results, too early to signal trends, although the results were mainly above projections.  This week hundreds of companies report their earnings, and that could signal where the economy is headed in the times to come.  So far most earnings reports have beaten expectations.

Although nine of the ten S&P 500 industry sectors dropped Friday, on the week eight of the ten sectors managed gains.  Financials dropped 2.4% Friday, and ended off 0.2% for the week.  Oil and gas shares were the leading gainers during the week, up 5%, for a 20.2% year-to-date increase, as crude prices continued their advance, rising 95 cents Friday to $78.53 per barrel.  Crude prices have been rising on promising economic signs as well as the dollar’s decline.  This morning China announced that its economy grew at a rate of more than 7% during the first nine months of the year and said it was comfortably placed to achieve its full-year target of an 8% GDP growth.  The greenback rose slightly Friday from a 14-month low.

This week 75 S&P500 firms are due to report their earnings, including today’s results from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) after the close.  On Tuesday results are due from: Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), DuPont (NYSE:DD), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and United Technologies (NYSE:UTX).  On Wednesday: Boeing (NYSE:BA), Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).  On Thursday: 3M (NYSE:MMM), AT&T (NYSE:T), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), Merck (NYSE:MRK), and Travelers Cos (NYSE:TRV). Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) reports its numbers on Friday.

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