October 18, 2019 / 5:47 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall St pressured by J&J, Boeing; growth worries linger

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* J&J slides on move to recall a batch of baby powder

* Boeing falls as 737 MAX woes deepen

* China's GDP growth grinds to near three-decade low

* Coca-Cola rises on better-than-expected sales

* Indexes down: Dow 0.67%, S&P 500 0.43%, Nasdaq 0.97% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street fell on Friday, dragged down by Boeing and Johnson & Johnson and as 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 5% tumble in shares of Johnson & Johnson and a 3.8% fall in shares of Boeing Co pressured the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average.

J&J 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.

Reuters reported Boeing turned over instant messages from 2016 between two employees that suggest the airplane maker may have misled the Federal Aviation Administration about a key safety system on the grounded 737 MAX.

The negative news overshadowed a handful of upbeat earnings reports.

Coca-Cola Co shares gained 2.3% after the beverage maker beat analysts' expectations for quarterly sales, while Schlumberger rose as its 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 0.4%.

American Express Co posted a quarterly profit above expectations but its shares slipped 1% after the credit-card issuer reaffirmed its 2019 earnings forecast.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 181.73 points, or 0.67%, at 26,844.15, the S&P 500 was down 12.79 points, or 0.43%, at 2,985.16 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 79.13 points, or 0.97%, at 8,077.72.

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. Technology firms make up the largest swath of the U.S. stock market.

The tech sector slipped 1.1%.

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 3% and 7% 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 1.26-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.86-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 26 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 45 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel)

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