Stocks: Banks, retail sales set weak tone

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Looks like stocks are headed for a modest pullback Friday, following weak retail sales and as investors shrug off bank earnings.

U.S. stock futures were slightly lower.

JPMorgan (JPM) reported a first-quarter profit that topped forecasts, but revenue missed estimates. Similarly, Wells Fargo (WFC) also reported a jump in profit, but a decline in revenue.

The latest quarter is expected to have been a tough one for banks, which have been struggling to make profits with interest rates hovering near record lows.

On the economic front, the U.S. government reported that retail sales dropped 0.4% in March, dragged down by weakness in electronics and gasoline prices. That was weaker than expected.

The Producer Price Index fell 0.6% in March, a more dramatic drop than the 0.1% economists had forecast.

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Stocks finished higher Thursday, with the Dow and S&P 500 closing at record highs.

Stocks have been on a tear this year. The Dow is less than 1% away from 15,000, while the S&P 500 is only 0.4% below 1,600. There hasn't been any one catalyst pushing stocks higher lately. Mostly, investors just don't want to miss the next leg up.

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In corporate news, Nasdaq executives will be getting their bonuses cut this year, and the bungled Facebook (FB) IPO is to blame.

J.C. Penney (JCP) shares edged lower in premarket trading following reports that it hired Blackstone (BX) to help the retailer raise $1 billion.

A history of PC prices
A history of PC prices

European markets were lower in midday trading, as concerns about the mounting cost of the Cyprus bailout ended a four-day winning streak. London's FTSE 100 was down 0.4%, while the CAC 40 in Paris dropped 1% and the DAX in Frankfurt fell 1.5%.

Officials from the European Union and International Monetary Fund said they will not give Cyprus extra cash to plug the gaping holes in its finances.

Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite declined 0.6%, the Nikkei lost 0.5% and the Hang Seng dropped 0.1%.

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