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* J&J recalls baby powder because of asbestos find
* Boeing misled FAA on 737 MAX safety -Reuters
* China's GDP growth hits 30-year low
* Earnings beats: Amex, Coca-Cola, Kansas City Southern
* Indexes down: Dow 0.62%, S&P 500 0.25%, Nasdaq 0.73% (Updates to late afternoon, changes dateline, byline)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street fell on Friday as negative headlines about Johnson & Johnson and Boeing and bleak economic data from China soured investor risk appetite, offsetting generally positive corporate earnings.
While the three major U.S. stock averages were in negative territory, they were all on track to end the week higher.
Boeing Co and Johnson & Johnson shares led the blue-chip Dow's decline.
Boeing dropped 4.8% after Reuters reported that text messages between two employees suggested the planemaker misled the Federal Aviation Administration about the safety of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft.
Johnson & Johnson announced it would recall baby powder in the United States after regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in a sample, sending its shares falling 5.6%.
Growth of China's gross domestic product slowed to its weakest pace in nearly 30 years as the bruising trade war with the United States took its toll, stoking fears of slowdown contagion.
The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for global growth this year to 3%, which would mark the slowest expansion since the financial crisis.
"Earnings have been coming in better than expected, but it doesn't mesh with economic data that have been coming out recently, and the global growth forecasts," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist, senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. "That's keeping some investors on the sideline."
Third-quarter earnings season has hit full stride, with 73 companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 83.6% have come in above average estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Still, analysts currently see S&P 500 earnings dropping by 3.1% compared with last year, which would mark the first contraction since the earnings recession that ended mid-2016.
Schlumberger NV gained 1.2% after the oilfield services company posted its largest quarterly loss ever as a result of a $12 billion charge as Chief Executive Olivier Le Peuch moved to shift focus toward software and services.
American Express Co reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit as consumers boosted their spending. Still, the credit card issuers shares dipped 1.0%.
Coca-Cola Co's revenue topped Street estimates as consumers took to zero-sugar sodas and smaller soft drink cans. The beverage maker's upbeat forecast gave its shares a 2.1% boost.
Kansas City Southern jumped 5.9% after beating profit expectations on increased petroleum shipments to Mexico.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 166.44 points, or 0.62%, to 26,859.44, the S&P 500 lost 7.53 points, or 0.25%, to 2,990.42 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 59.67 points, or 0.73%, to 8,097.18.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, six were in the red, with communications services and tech suffering the biggest percentage declines.
Real estate and financial sectors were the day's biggest percentage winners.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.45-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 27 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 46 new highs and 47 new lows. (Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)