US stocks dropped in early trade Friday, led by weakness in energy equities following a bearish International Energy Agency outlook on the oil market and a fall in consumer confidence.
About 40 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,769.03, down 126.19 points (0.71 percent).
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 10.87 (0.53 percent) to 2,055.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 14.18 (0.29 percent) to 4,879.11.
Crude prices fell after the IEA warned that a recent rally in the oil market probably would not last. Dow member Chevron dropped 1.5 percent, driller Transocean lost 2.9 percent and oil services giant Halliburton shed 2.2 percent.
Equities also took a hit after a University of Michigan measure of consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in March, to 91.2 from 95.4 in February.
After losing ground in the prior session, the dollar advanced Friday, rising closer to parity with the euro. The surge in the greenback has raised worries about US exports.
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, a cosmetics retailer, rose 4.7 percent as fourth-quarter net income jumped 23.5 percent to $87.3 million behind an 11.1 percent rise in comparable sales.
Restaurant chain El Pollo Loco shot up 13.3 percent after reporting a $4.6 million profit in the fourth quarter, up from an $18.1 million loss a year ago. Comparable restaurant sales grew 7.6 percent.
Herbalife, a marketer of nutrition supplements, advanced 8.4 percent following reports that US investigators are questioning associates of activist Herbalife critic Bill Ackman in a probe of potential manipulation of the stock.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.12 percent from 2.11 percent Thursday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.71 percent from 2.70 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.