Investing.com - U.S. stocks finished broadly lower on Friday as weak data on U.S. retail sales and consumer sentiment dampened the outlook for global economic growth, but still ended the week with strong gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished flat on Friday to end the week 2.1% higher. The S&P 500 fell 0.28%, trimming back the week’s gains to 2.3%. The Nasdaq slipped 0.16% on Friday, but ended the week 2.8% higher.
Stocks fell after official data showed that U.S. retail sales fell 0.4% in March, the largest decline in nine months and missing expectations for a 0.1% increase.
A separate report showed that the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to 72.3 in April, the lowest level since July, from a final reading of 78.6 in March.
Another report showed that U.S. producer price inflation declined 0.6% in March, more than the 0.2% drop expected.
Friday’s declines halted a four-day rally that saw the Dow and S&P 500 climb to fresh records.
Earlier in the week the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting showed that policymakers are still divided about over when to wind up the bank’s easing program, but the meeting was held before data showed that the U.S. economy added far fewer than expected jobs in March.
In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.9% at the close on Friday as concerns that Cyprus may need a larger bailout overshadowed data showing that industrial production in the euro zone rose more than expected in February.
Eurostat said industrial production in the euro zone rose 0.4%, better than expectations for a 0.1% increase.
Asian markets were broadly lower on Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei sliding 0.5% as the yen rebounded against the dollar. The Nikkei still ended the week with gains of 5.1%.
Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi fell 1.3% amid ongoing concerns over escalating military threats against the U.S. and South Korea from North Korea.