By Noel Randewich
(Reuters) - Wall Street fell sharply on Friday and capped off its worst week since the dark days of August, hurt by a selloff in technology companies, while department stores dropped on concerns about the upcoming holiday shopping season.
After the bell, U.S. stock index futures hit session lows in light volume, with market participants citing concerns over reports of deadly attacks in Paris.
"The geopolitical aspect is always out there, and anything that brings that back into the headlines will pull the buy orders fairly quickly," said Alan Lancz, president, Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc, a Toledo, Ohio-based investment advisory firm.
The three major U.S. indexes ended the week down more than 3 percent, firmly putting the brakes on a fast rally that began in October.
Dow component Cisco (CSCO.O) dropped 5.8 percent after it gave a flimsy forecast, citing a slowdown in orders and weak spending outside the United States.
It was the second-biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, weighing on shares of tech heavyweights, including Apple (AAPL.O) and Facebook (FB.O).
Retailers were hit by disappointing reports from department store chains. Nordstrom (JWN.N) lowered its full-year forecast on Thursday, spooking investors already on edge after Macy's (M.N) cut its forecast on Wednesday.
In addition, data showed U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in October, suggesting a slowdown in consumer spending.
Consumer stocks have been a bright spot this year as weak commodity prices, fears of a global slowdown and anticipation of a U.S. rate hike have hit most stocks, especially those of materials, energy and industrial companies.
The S&P 600 smallcap index (.SPCY) lost 4.6 percent for the week, its worst weekly performance in over three years.
The underperformance of smallcaps relative to larger companies in recent weeks hints at vulnerability in the broader market, said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments in Atlanta, which has $50 billion in assets under management.
"The market got to up within about a percent of its previous record high. It got overbought, but we really didn’t get the follow-through we wanted from the small caps," Gayle said.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) fell 1.16 percent to finish at 17,245.24 points and the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 1.12 percent to 2,023.04. The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 1.54 percent to 4,927.88.
All three major indexes posted their worst week since August, when fears about the health of China's economy and stock market slammed global asset prices.
The Dow lost 3.7 percent for the week, the S&P 500 shed 3.6 percent and the Nasdaq declined 4.3 percent.
So far in 2015, the benchmark S&P 500 is now down about 2 percent.
Nine of the S&P 500's 10 major sectors finished lower on Friday, with the consumer discretionary sector's (.SPLRCD) 2.65 percent fall leading the decliners.
Nordstrom (JWN.N) and J.C. Penney (JCP.N) both sank about 15 percent.
The S&P technology index (.SPLRCT) fell 2.01 percent, with Apple down 2.92 percent. Facebook fell 3.77 percent, its worst day in over a month.
Fossil (FOSL.O) slid 36.5 percent after the watchmaker said sales in the current quarter could fall as much as 16 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,903 to 1,154. On the Nasdaq, 1,761 issues fell and 1,027 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and 36 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 29 new highs and 181 new lows.
About 7.7 billion shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges, well above the 7.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York and Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Nick Zieminski, G Crosse)