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* Coca-Cola rises on better-than-expected revenue
* J&J slides on move to recall a batch of baby powder
* Schlumberger gains on upbeat profit report
* China’s GDP growth grinds to near three-decade low
* Indexes off: Dow 0.28%, S&P 500 0.15%, Nasdaq 0.50% (Adds comments, updates market action)
By Shreyashi Sanyal
Oct 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street edged lower on Friday, set to end a strong week on a downbeat note, as heavyweight Johnson & Johnson slipped and worries over global economic growth were rekindled by gloomy data out of China.
The world’s second-largest economy expanded at its weakest pace in almost 30 years in the third quarter amid a bitter trade war with the United States, which has roiled financial markets and fueled fears of a global recession.
“China data just adds to the continued slowing global growth concept that has been out there for a while,” said Chris O’Keefe, managing director at Logan Capital Management in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
A 4.2% fall in shares of Johnson & Johnson also pressured the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indexes.
The healthcare conglomerate said it would recall a single lot of its baby powder in the United States after the Food and Drug Administration found trace amounts of asbestos in samples taken from a bottle purchased online.
Limiting losses was a raft of robust earnings. Coca-Cola Co shares gained 2.7% after the beverage maker beat analysts’ expectations for quarterly sales, while Schlumberger rose as profit beat estimates.
“Coke is being innovative and Pepsi also had stronger-than-expected earnings. Overall, these companies are benefiting from the strength of the consumer,” O’Keefe added.
The consumer staples sector rose 0.5%, while energy stocks gained 0.1%.
American Express Co posted quarterly profit above expectations and reaffirmed its 2019 earnings forecast, but shares of the credit card issuer slipped 0.7%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 74.85 points, or 0.28%, at 26,951.03, while the S&P 500 was down 4.45 points, or 0.15%, at 2,993.50. The Nasdaq Composite was down 40.40 points, or 0.50%, at 8,116.46.
The upbeat start to the earnings season has put the S&P 500 and Dow indexes on track for their second straight week of gains, while the Nasdaq was set to rise for the third week in a row.
Of the 73 S&P 500 companies to report results so far, 83.6% have topped earnings expectations.
Investors are now gearing up for earnings from technology companies next week, including those from Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp.
Analysts still expect third-quarter S&P 500 earnings to have fallen by 3.1%, according to Refinitiv data, the first contraction since mid-2016.
Macy’s, Gap Inc and L Brands led losses among S&P 500 companies, with declines ranging between 5% and 8% after Credit Suisse downgraded their shares and said weak third-quarter retail trends could continue into fall and holiday season.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.01-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 40 new highs and 32 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
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