What’s Greasing Wall Street’s Slide

Jan 28, 2014 8:24am

Morning Money Memo…

AP stock exchange sk 140128 16x9 608 Whats Greasing Wall Streets Slide

Specialist Brian Egan, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Jan. 27, 2014. Richard Drew/AP Photo

Was last year’s 30 percent jump for the stock market a case of too much too soon? That’s what many investors are wondering today. The start of this year on Wall Street is looking a little bit like a morning hangover after a wild party the night before. The Dow Jones Index has been down five days in a row, falling another 41 points Monday.

It’s part of a global stock sell-off. Market turbulence was set off last week by a report from China on a downturn in its manufacturing, more evidence that the world’s second-largest economy is growing more slowly than it was. That could be a big problem for Brazil, South Africa and other developing countries that depend on exports to China.

Adding to the troubles: The decision by the Federal Reserve last month to scale back its bond-buying stimulus for the American economy, which has helped keep interest rates low. Money that had flooded emerging markets looking for higher returns outside the U.S. has started coming back now, battering emerging markets.

But for every mood shift on Wall Street there are doubters. S&P and Dow Jones futures moved higher this morning. Asian stocks stabilized overnight. Selling pressure eased after several days of steep losses. Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, said he wasn’t surprised that the U.S. losses were limited. “We have an accelerating economy, low inflation and accommodative monetary policy,” he said. “The world isn’t falling apart.”

Equities strategist Susan Schmidt at Mesirow Financial tells long-term savers: “Don’t let it become emotionally overwhelming. Recognize that you are looking at this at a multi-year horizon.”

OK, but what about Apple? Is it a poster child for the market hangover? Apple shares got hammered, losing more than 7 percent after disappointment over the company’s quarterly report. iPhone sales rose but were less than forecast. One problem is that the market for the stuff Apple sells is not growing that much. In a new report the Consumer Electronics Association says demand for tablets is “showing the beginning signs of market saturation”.

Google Glass is getting glasses. Google is adding prescription frames and new styles of detachable sunglasses to its computerized, Internet-connected goggles called Glass. The add-ons will cost extra. Glass is supposed to become commercially available later this year.

The International Monetary Fund is urging the 18-nation Eurozone to press ahead with its planned banking union reforms to lay the foundation for fresh growth and job creation. IMF chief Christine Lagarde says Europe must reinforce its institutions to stabilize to reduce “the very damaging link” of failing banks dragging down weaker governments’ finances.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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