- Weak fourth-quarter earnings sent U.S. stock prices falling on Friday, though solid consumer sentiment data cushioned losses.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.94%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.65%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.47%.

Disappointing earnings from retailer Amazon and toymaker Mattel sent stock prices falling on Friday, as did a profit forecast from Wal-Mart.

Ongoing concerns that emerging markets may be cooling also pushed prices lower, though U.S. data curbed losses somewhat.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of U.S. consumer sentiment came in at 81.2 in January, beating expectations for a 81.0 reading.

Also in the U.S. official data revealed consumer spending rose 0.4% in December, beating expectations for a 0.2% reading though personal income came in unchanged, missing expectations for a 0.0% gain.

The data boosted spirits somewhat by painting a picture of a U.S. economy moving along on its road to recovery at a time when monetary policy still remains loose.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Microsoft, up 2.43%, Caterpillar, up 0.74%, and Verizon, up 0.64%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included Chevron, down 4.35%, Visa, down 2.54%, and Exxon Mobil, down 2.13.%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished lower.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.31%, France''s CAC 40 fell 0.34%, while Germany''s DAX 30 fell 0.71%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.43%.

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