Stocks Ended Worst Week of 2012

U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with the major indexes recording their worst week this year, as investors considered the implications of slowing growth in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136.99 points, or 1.05%, to close at 12,849.59, lost 1.6 percent for the week. The S&P 500 dropped 17.31 points, or 1.25%, to 1,370.26, off 2% from the week ago close. The Nasdaq Composite retreated by 44.22 points, or 1.45%, to 3,011.33, leaving it down 2.2% from last Friday’s close.

China’s first-quarter economic growth cooled to its slowest pace in 11 quarters amid weak export growth and sluggish construction activity, though analysts viewed the figures as pointing to a gradual slowing rather than a replay of downturn during the global crisis. Gross domestic product grew 8.1% in the January to March period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, below analysts’ expectations of an 8.3% expansion.

Subprime mortgages and the housing bubble were the trigger while high leverage, unstable funding and deficient risk management and supervision were the vulnerabilities that led to the financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday.

The dollar extended its gain against major currencies Friday.  The dollar extended its gain against major currencies Friday. Crude futures declined Friday after data showing a slowdown in China prompted concerns about oil demand. Crude futures for delivery in May were down 81 cents, or 0.8%, at $102.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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