By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks declined in a volatile session on Friday but were able to partially recover from a sharp drop spurred by news the FBI will review more emails related to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's private email use.
Each of the three major indexes on Wall Street fell to session lows, with the S&P 500 dropping 1 percent in an hour, after FBI Director James Comey said in a letter to several congressional Republicans the agency had learned of the existence of emails that appeared to be pertinent to its investigation. The U.S. election is scheduled to take place in 11 days, on Nov. 8.
"The headline hit, everyone panicked for a second that it was going to affect the outcome of the election," said Stephen Massocca, chief investment officer at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.
The benchmark S&P 500 index fell as much as 0.6 percent on the session, hitting a low of 2,119.36 before recovering.
"People calmed down and considered what it really meant, that in all likelihood it really isn’t going to impact the election," Massocca said.
Earlier in the session, the S&P 500 had risen as much as 0.4 percent after economic data showed the U.S. economy grew 2.9 percent in the third quarter, its fastest pace in two years, and upbeat earnings from Google parent company Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O>.
Alphabet shares were up 0.3 percent at $819.56.
While the economic data supported the case for an interest rate hike, the Federal Reserve is unlikely to make a move at its meeting next week, as it falls just days ahead of the U.S. presidential election. Many market participants are instead expecting a rate hike in December.
Investors also digested the latest wave of earnings reports with the hope the quarter snaps a year-long earnings recession.
Nearly 73 percent of the S&P 500 companies that reported have topped Wall Street expectations, with growth for the quarter now expected to be 3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The quarter had been expected to show a decline of 0.5 percent at the start of October.
On the negative side, Amazon.com <AMZN.O> suffered its worst day in nearly nine months, down 5.2 percent to $776.32 after the online retailer warned heavy investments in the crucial holiday quarter would hurt profits. The stock was the top drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 8.29 points, or 0.05 percent, to 18,161.39, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 6.6 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,126.44 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 25.87 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,190.10.
For the week, the S&P 500 dipped 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1.3 percent, while the Dow managed a 0.1 percent gain.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.49-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.41-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 45 new highs and 129 new lows.
About 7.31 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.34 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli)