General Electric weighs on Wall Street

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NYSE tradersImage source, Reuters

US markets edged lower on Friday, weighed down by weaker-than-expected earnings from General Electric.

Shares of the US conglomerate dropped almost 3% after it said profits fell 57%, as sales in its oil and gas, transportation and lighting divisions declined.

The Dow Jones slid 0.15% to 21,580 and the wider S&P 500 index dipped 0.04% to 2,472.5.

The tech-focused Nasdaq index fell 0.04% to 6,387.75.

A rise at Visa, where shares gained 1.5% after the firm raised its profit forecast, stemmed the losses.

About a fifth of firms in the S&P 500 index have reported earnings so far. with most beating expectations, according to analytics firm FactSet.

The three indexes are all ahead so far this year, with the Nasdaq showing the strongest gains, up more than 17%.

Outgoing GE boss Jeffrey Immelt said the company was working in a "slow-growth, volatile environment". He said a cost-cutting plan and other measures should put the firm on track to hit profit targets for the year.

Shares of energy companies also traded lower after a report suggested members of the Opec oil producers group would increase supply.

Exxon Mobil was down 0.9% while Chevron shares fell 1.3%.