US Markets

Dow drops more than 250 points to end the week as Boeing and J&J plunge

Earnings won't be as 'disastrous' as expected, says SlateStone's Kenny Polcari
Earnings won't be as 'disastrous' as expected, says SlateStone's Kenny Polcari

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell sharply on Friday, weighed down by steep losses in Boeing and Johnson & Johnson. The broader market was also pressured by a decline in Netflix shares that led other Big Tech stocks lower.

The 30-stock index ended the day down 255.68 points, or 0.95% to close at 26,770.20. Boeing dropped 6.8% — its biggest one-day drop since February 2016 — on news that company instant messages suggest the aerospace giant misled regulators over the safety systems of the 737 Max. Johnson & Johnson slid 6.2% after the company recalled some baby powder upon finding traces of asbestos.

Friday's losses wiped out the Dow's gains for the week. The index closed down 0.2% week to date. 

Meanwhile, S&P 500 pulled back 0.4% to end the day at 2,986.20 while the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.8% to 8,089.54. Netflix shares dropped more than 6%. Facebook, meanwhile, slid 2.2% while Amazon fell 1.6%. Alphabet shares pulled back 0.4%.

Both indexes were able to post solid gains for the week despite Friday's decline. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% week to date while the Nasdaq gained 0.4% as enthusiasm around the first batch of corporate earnings lifted market sentiment.

Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix
Joan Cros Garcia | Corbis | Getty Images

More than 70 S&P 500 companies reported calendar third-quarter earnings this week. Of those companies, 81% posted better-than-expected results, FactSet data shows.

Some of the companies posting stronger-than-forecast results this week include Bank of America, Netflix, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Coca-Cola continued that trend on Friday, rising more than 2%.

"There was so much nervousness coming into the earnings season about what they would bring, there is some happiness that this is pretty good," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "What they've really done is two things: Show the financials are incredibly resilient, and confirm that the consumer is ridiculously healthy."

Optimism around Brexit also gave stocks a boost this week. The U.K. and European Union struck a long-awaited draft Brexit deal. British and EU officials reached the agreement after successive days of late-night talks and almost three years of tense discussions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will now attempt to persuade U.K. lawmakers to back his agreement, ahead of what is expected to be a knife-edge vote on Saturday.

"There seems to be an underlying eagerness to see the SPX sustainably break above 3K and hit fresh highs," Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note. "But in reality this feels like an attempt by people to wrap a fundamental justification around a bullish bias that is really being motivated by positioning pain, performance anxiety, and general 'FOMO.'"

"In the very near-term, a 3K upside break might happen, but this will probably wind up being nothing more than a brief 'head fake' rally," Crisafulli wrote.

—CNBC's Michael Bloom and Sam Meredith contributed to this report.