* April retail sales rise 0.4 pct vs. est. 0.6 pct
* J.C. Penney drops on weak same-store sales
* Indexes down: Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.18 pct, Nasdaq 0.03 pct (Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 12 The S&P 500 and the Dow edged lower on Friday as financial stocks fell, but losses on the Nasdaq were kept in check by a rise in technology shares.
With the first-quarter earnings season coming to an end, investors are looking to the Federal Reserve, Trump administration and economic data for fresh trading catalysts.
A risk-off sentiment has dominated trading this week after President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired his FBI chief, the potential fallout of which could delay Trump's pro-growth policy.
"Today, the focus is on macro news, while the political situation in Washington continues to linger. So we are looking at a cautious market," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
Data from the Commerce Department showed retail sales increased by 0.4 percent in April, but fell short of an estimated 0.6 percent rise.
U.S. consumer prices rebounded in April, a Labor Department report showed, pointing to a steady rise in inflation that could make the case for an interest rate hike next month.
At 9:38 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones industrial average was down 44.07 points, or 0.21 percent, at 20,875.35, the S&P 500 was down 4.42 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,390.02 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.87 points, or 0.03 percent, at 6,114.10.
Financials and industrials, which have gained the most in the Trump-inspired trade, were the biggest drags on the S&P.
Technology was up 0.13 percent, lifted by Apple .
J.C. Penney reported lower-than-expected comparable store sales, sending its shares down 9 percent.
GE was the top percentage loser on the Dow, down 1.7 percent after Deustche Bank downgraded its shares to "sell" from "hold".
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,588 to 926. On the Nasdaq, 1,531 issues fell and 724 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed high 52-week highs and four lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 highs and 29 lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)