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Stocks Plunge 200 Points on Disappointing Sales and Forecasts

Business Roundup for Thursday, January 23

 Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange ( Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are plunging on Wall Street amid disappointing earnings and forecasts from several companies. Investors are also worrying about a manufacturing slowdown in China. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down more than 200 points in afternoon trading. The other major indexes are sliding as well.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department will auction a new Treasury security with variable interest rates next week. It will be the first new Treasury security offered in 17 years. Treasury says it will auction $15 billion of the new floating rate notes on Jan. 29. The two-year security will have an interest rate that resets every day and will be tied to the three-month Treasury bill.

UNDATED (AP) — Neiman Marcus says 1.1 million debit and credit cards used at its stores may have been compromised in a security breach last year. The high-end retailer says Visa, MasterCard and Discover have found 2,400 cards of Neiman Marcus and Last Call customers that were used fraudulently. Last Call is Neiman Marcus’ clearance chain. Neiman Marcus says it is notifying all customers who shopped in its stores in 2013 and offering them a free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection.

NEW YORK (AP) — Fewer customers are visiting the world’s biggest hamburger chain. McDonald’s says global sales slipped 0.1 percent at established locations for the last three months of the year. In the U.S., the figure fell 1.4 percent. And McDonald’s says it expects the challenges it’s facing will persist in the year ahead.

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s been a rough start of the year for air travelers. Winter storms have led airlines to cancel more than 33,000 flights during the first three weeks of this year. That’s more cancellations than in January 2013 and January 2012 combined, according to masFlight, a data and software company specializing in airline operations. The hardest-hit cities so far this winter are New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 176 points, or 1 percent, to 16,198 as of 11:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 18 points, or 1 percent, to 1,827. The Nasdaq composite dropped 42 points, or 1 percent, to 4,201. Two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has ticked up but remains at a level consistent with steady job gains. The Labor Department says jobless claims rose by 1,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. The less volatile four-week average fell for the third straight week to 331,500.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of existing U.S. homes edged up slightly in December, helping to lift sales for the year to the highest level in seven years. The National Association of Realtors says sales increased to an annual rate of 4.87 million units last month, up 1 percent from the November sales pace. For all of 2013, sales totaled 5.09 million, the best performance since 2006, when sales totaled 6.48 million in the midst of the housing bubble.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages have barely changed this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for the 30-year loan declined to 4.39 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan eased to 3.44 percent from 3.45 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of the economy’s health in the months ahead rose modestly in December. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators was up 0.1 percent last month. That’s down from a 1 percent gain in November, the month after a partial 16-day shutdown of the federal government.

HONG KONG (AP) — Most international stock markets sank today after a report indicated that China’s manufacturing, a mainstay of the world’s second largest economy, was likely to shrink for the first time in half a year. Investors were rattled by the results of HSBC’s preliminary survey of factory purchasing managers in January. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen. Benchmark crude oil fell but remained above $96.50 a barrel.

WASHINGTON — Traders will focus on the government’s weekly jobless claims report today. But they’ll be interested in the Conference Board’s leading economic indicators for December as well. The realtors association will release existing home sales for December and Freddie Mac will report weekly mortgage rates. As for earnings, McDonald’s, Nokia, Southwest and United Continental report before the opening bell and Discover Financial, Microsoft and Starbucks report after the market closes.

BEIJING (AP) — Lenovo Group has agreed to buy part of IBM’s server business for $2.3 billion, adding to a product line-up that relies heavily on consumer-oriented computers and smartphones. Lenovo says it is acquiring IBM’s x86 server business and expects to offer jobs to 7,500 IBM employees in locations around the world. Lenovo and IBM have collaborated for a number of years.

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota remains the top automaker in global vehicle sales for the second year in a row, beating U.S. rival General Motors by some 270,000 vehicles in 2013. Toyota Motor Corp. says Thursday it sold 9.98 million vehicles worldwide last year, up 2 percent from the previous year, when it bounced back from an earthquake that devastated northeastern Japan in 2011. Toyota plans to sell 10.32 million vehicles globally in 2014. No automaker has ever topped 10 million.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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