Marley Jay

Of Mutual Interest: Reacting to rising inflation and rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are fearfully watching for signs that inflation is picking up. Stocks tumbled in February when Wall Street thought a big increase was coming, and since then, stocks have rallied when the market received signs that inflation was in check. Most experts agree that inflation is going to speed up eventually as the economy expands, and that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates in order to keep inflation pressures from getting out of control. While it’s not clear exactly when greater inflation will arrive, Steve Wood, chief market strategist for Russell Investments, says it’s not too soon to prepare. Also, Wood says investors need to pay attention to a global disconnect in interest rate policy. Even as the Federal Reserve, under Chairman Jerome Powell, raises borrowing costs in the U.S. to stave off inflation, central banks in Europe and Japan are still keeping interest rates low and buying bonds in order to stimulate their own economies. Answers have been edited for length and clarity. Q: What trajectory do you expect for inflation? A: The goal is to figure out where inflation is going within the context of Fed policy. The underlying data is that inflation is increasing toward the Fed’s target of 2 percent. The improvement in inflation is going to give the Fed confidence that it can remove much of the emergency accommodation it afforded following the global financial crisis. One ignores the Fed and Fed policy at one’s own peril. Since February, the market is beginning to process the policy positions of a Powell Fed, which is looking at an improving economy, improved labor markets, and inflation that they feel is on target. As we all know, it’s not inflation, it’s inflation expectations which are important, and the Fed wants an environment where inflation expectations are anchored at that 2 percent range. Q: What kind of adjustments are you making as you see signs inflation is on the rise? A: To many the most obvious would be the impact of rising rates in fixed-income, and over a shorter time environment that’s true. In a rising rate environment, the price of fixed income assets (like bonds) drops. There are also implications in asset classes with an equities base. Also there are implications in terms of the economic cycle. It’s global, too. (Central banks) are using similar policy tools, but they’re not using them at the same time. That creates cross currents, and from a global investors’ outlook that creates an opportunity to manage risk more robustly. Q: How would you advise investors to respond? A: In the U.S., we see an economic cycle which is aging, earnings are going to look excellent this year but again aging, and a Federal Reserve that has made clear that they will follow a disciplined path to pursue rate hikes and remove accommodation. It’s an opportunity for a U.S. dollar-based investor to balance into other parts of the world that are in a younger economic cycle. We’ve been telling U.S. dollar-based investors that the last several quarters have been an opportunity for them to rebalance globally, for example in Europe. Europe has a younger economic cycle, valuations are attractive relative to the U.S., and the European Central Bank is still in an accommodative, easing policy cycle. After a very strong nine-year bull market in the U.S. equity space, they can rebalance that in a global and multi-asset portfolio. Q: Does that mean you’re more focused on geographies rather than asset classes? A: I think we’re looking at asset classes and geography simultaneously. If one were to look at the economic cycle of the U.S vs. the euro currency zone, one would say that the U.S. would have a much older economic cycle. A tightening central bank in the U.S. would be compared to a European Central Bank that is still providing accommodation and has rates very low. Earnings and valuations in Europe look relatively more attractive than they would in the U.S. The risk-adjusted return picture for an investor would suggest that rebalancing from an asset class and a geography that has done quite well, where valuations are high, to areas where asset prices are relatively low and monetary policy might be a tail wind.

Of Mutual Interest: After months of calm, a warning sign?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s been a remarkably calm year for the stock market. Did an alarm just go off? Stocks have risen to records this year, buoyed by steady growth in the U.S. economy, improvement in formerly-struggling international economies and a resurgence in corporate earnings. As of Aug. 30, the Standard &Poor’s 500 index is up almost 10 percent this year. That’s about equal to its typical full-year gain and better than many experts had predicted. But in August the market hit a speed bump: stocks took two weeks of losses as investors worried about rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, terrorist attacks in Spain, mounting challenges to the Trump agenda of tax cuts and infrastructure spending, and poor results from some big-name U.S. retailers. To say the least, it was a lot to digest. In historic terms, the market’s losses over those two weeks weren’t huge. The S&P 500 fell a bit more than 2 percent as industrial and energy companies slumped, and the small-cap Russell 2000 dropped 6 percent. It was the worst period for the market this year, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s volatility index, a measurement of how much volatility investors expect to see, reached its highest level in months. “If we see further spikes in volatility that will not surprise us,” said Joe Davis, chief global economist for Vanguard. “The headline or the catalyst may, but the ultimate result won’t.” While stocks later recovered some of their losses, geopolitical tensions and the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey continued to weigh on the market after that. And the turbulence comes right before the worst month of the year for stocks: on average, the S&P 500 falls 0.5 percent in September. The current bull market is eight years old, and Wall Street has been debating how much longer it can last. There’s little reason to expect another drop in corporate earnings or a recession, and analysts are fond of pointing out that bull markets don’t simply die of old age. Still, nothing lasts forever, and Davis says he thinks investors should get into a more defensive position now instead of waiting for the exact right moment to pull back from stocks. “I think the next year or two is going to be a more challenging environment for investors than any time in the last eight or nine years,” he said. Davis is preaching caution because stock prices are at such high levels. With bond yields and interest rates low and corporate earnings rising, stocks are not only higher than ever, their price-to-earnings ratios are abnormally high. Davis encourages investors to look away from U.S. stocks and put some of their money into other types of assets. He has a more positive view of stocks in non-U.S. markets, which in general are less expensive than U.S. equities. He also feels investors should diversify by adding government bonds and other low-risk assets to their portfolio and avoid reaching for high-yielding assets. These days, stocks and bonds practically move in opposite directions: when one is up, the other is down. That makes bonds a good way to diversify. “One of the reason yields are so low is the diversification value of bonds today is probably the highest it’s been in 25 years,” he said. “There is considerably more risk in the equity market than in the bond market.” Like many market watchers, Davis thinks it’s inevitable that this calm period is going to end. Whether that happens next week, when many traders return from summer vacation, or later on, Davis suggests investors prepare now, because historically investors make worse decisions if they wait for the market to weaken to take action.

Global stocks tumble after Britain votes to leave the EU

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks plunged in the U.S. and worldwide Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The result stunned investors, who reacted by rushing to the safety of gold and U.S. government bonds as they wondered what will come next for Britain, Europe and the global economy. U.S. stocks gave up all their gains from earlier in the year and are on track for their biggest losses since August. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 611 points, or 3.4 percent, to 17,399. The S&P 500 dropped 76 points, or 3.6 percent, to 2,037. The Nasdaq composite was set for its biggest loss since mid-2011, down 202 points, or 4.1 percent, to 4,707. Indexes in Europe and Asia took even larger losses. The vote brought a massive dose of uncertainty to financial markets, something investors loathe. Traders responded by dumping riskier assets that appeared to have the most to lose from disruptions in financial flows and trade: banks, technology companies and makers of basic materials. Britons voted to leave the EU over concerns including immigration and regulation. It's far from clear what that will mean for international trade or for Europe, as the EU, which was formed in the decades following World War II, has never before lost a member state. "This vote is a step away from free trade," said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist Nuveen Asset Management. "When you add to it the specter of the last couple of years of terrorism it causes the average individual ... to be more nationalistic, more populist, more protectionist." Bond prices surged and yields fell. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note dropped to 1.57 percent from 1.75 percent on Thursday, a large move. Banks took the largest losses by far. Citigroup plummeted $4.06, or 9.1 percent, to $40.40 and JPMorgan Chase fell $4.54, or 7.1 percent, to $59.51. Banks have the most to lose in Britain's departure from the EU as they do a lot of cross-border business in Europe based from their offices in London. They also become less profitable when bond yields fall, since that lowers interest rates on many kinds of loans such as mortgages. Chemicals companies and technology stocks also took hefty losses. Microsoft fell $2.28, or 4.4 percent, to $49.63 and IBM gave up $8.64, or 5.6 percent, to $146.71. DuPont gave up $3.19, or 4.6 percent, to $66.02 and LyondelBassel Industries lost $4.04, or 5.1 percent, to $75.01. In addition to bonds, other safety assets also soared. Gold jumped $59.30, or 4.7 percent, to $1,322.40. That's its highest price since July 2014. Silver rose 44 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $17.79 an ounce, its highest in more than a year. The moves sent mining stocks higher. Newmont Mining rose the most in the S&P 500 index. It climbed $1.80, or 5.1 percent, to $37.19. High-dividend utility and phone companies took smaller losses than the rest of the market. Consolidated Edison gained $1.12, or 1.5 percent, to $77.98. The pound fell dramatically, to $1.3638, its lowest level since 2009. At one point the British currency hit a 31-year low. Oil prices fell sharply. Benchmark U.S. crude declined $2.47, or 4.9 percent, to close at $47.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell $2.50, or 4.9 percent, to $48.41 a barrel in London. The vote will start years of negotiations over Britain's trade, business and political links. Observers wonder if other nations will follow in Britain's footsteps by leaving the EU. "This is a negative in economic terms for the UK," said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. "The EU will be very tough negotiators with them." Investors had sent stocks higher this week as they gradually grew more confident, based on polls and the changing odds in the betting market, that Britain would stay in the E.U. They sent the pound to its highest price of the year and sold bonds, pushing yields higher. Those gains were rapidly undone Friday. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 3.1 percent. At one point it was 8 percent lower. The German DAX index sank 6.8 percent and France's CAC 40 index tumbled 8 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 finished a wild day down 7.9 percent, its biggest loss since the global financial crisis in 2008. South Korea's Kospi sank 3.1 percent, its worst day in four years. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 4.4 percent and stocks in Shanghai, Taiwan, Sydney, Mumbai and Southeast Asian countries were sharply lower. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline sank 8 cents to $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil fell 7 cents to $1.46 a gallon. Natural gas lost 4 cents to $2.66 per 1,000 cubic feet. In other currencies, the dollar fell to 102.24 yen from 104.47 yen while the euro weakened to $1.1121 from $1.1351. __ Danica Kirka reported from London and Youkyung Lee reported from Seoul. Ken Sweet in New York and Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong also contributed to this report.

SEC seeks input on reducing number of earnings reports

NEW YORK (AP) — Four times a year there’s a kind of parade on Wall Street: companies announce their quarterly earnings, all in a row, with the banks first, then the tech companies, and the retailers bringing up the rear. Stocks can rise or plunge based on the results. And three months later it all happens again. But regulators are wondering if it’s time for a change. For about 40 years, companies have had to make four yearly reports of basic financial information, including how much money they earned or lost, how much revenue they took in and what their expenses were. It’s supposed to help investors make informed decisions. But the Securities and Exchange Commission said April 27 that it may change those rules. It noted there are drawbacks to the requirements, like the time and money companies have to spend to prepare the reports, and the possibility that important information gets lost in the flood of stuff companies have to disclose. The SEC didn’t propose any specific new rules or commit to making changes. It’s really asking some philosophical questions: what do investors need to know? What’s the balance between transparency, which investors need, and burdening companies with regulations? Some observers think quarterly reports are bad for companies. BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink said in February that the constant reports encourage short-term thinking, and push companies to spend gobs of money on stock repurchases or big dividends, or repeatedly slashing costs instead of making longer-term investments that would help their business or the economy in the years to come. Last year Hillary Clinton criticized “quarterly capitalism” and made some of the same points. “Quarterly numbers force short-term thinking on the part of investors and on the part of management,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. Still, Ablin said he opposed a change. “I think more information is better,” he said. If the SEC decides to make a change, the simplest option might be making companies report their results twice a year instead of four times. That’s how the European Union handles earnings, although some countries within the EU have more stringent requirements. If companies wanted to give quarterly updates, they could still do so. Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said companies may want to spend less on earnings filings, but even a change to semi-annual reports would be bad for many investors. “When you cut down on required public disclosure, you favor institutional investors over individual investors,” he said. That’s because big investment firms like BlackRock or giant pension funds have the ability to do far more analysis and research of companies. Gordon says smaller investors might have a lot less data to work with. “An individual person can’t call IBM’s customers and find out what’s going on,” he said. “It will hurt individual investors and put them at a bigger disadvantage to institutional investors.” Regardless of how many times companies report or what those reports look like, Ablin said it’s vital that investors look at company results closely and be skeptical. “My frustration is, there’s a fair amount of latitude that investors give management in reported earnings,” he said. “In many respects I think investors tend to take reported earnings at face value.”  

Stocks edge lower again, weighed down by the energy sector

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell Friday as the price of oil retreated and pulled energy company shares down, but the market remains on track for its best week of the year. Retail stocks are sliding further after a disappointing report from department store operator Nordstrom. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,391 at close. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished even at 1,917. The Nasdaq composite picked up 16 points, or 0.38 percent, to 4,504 as tech stocks attracted more interest than the broader market. Stocks have been little changed over the last two days. But thanks to big jumps on Tuesday and Wednesday, the S&P 500 is on pace for its best week of 2016. The Nasdaq, which has plunged 10 percent this year, is on pace for its best week in three months. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.13, or 3.7 percent, to $29.64 a barrel in New York. It climbed 17 percent over the previous week. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, slid $1.27, or 3.7 percent, to $33.01. That sent oil and gas stocks tumbling. Southwestern Energy dropped $1.42, or 16.8 percent, to $7.07 and Murphy Oil fell $1.60, or 9.4 percent, to $15.41. TECH RISES: Chipmaking equipment company Applied Materials climbed after it reported stronger-than-expected profit and sales. Its stock climbed $1.23, or 7.2 percent, to $18.41. Yahoo rose 60 cents, or 2 percent, to $30.02 after the Internet company said it has created a committee of independent directors and hired advisers as part of an effort to redefine itself. Big shareholders are pushing Yahoo to sell its main Internet business. The company eliminated 15 percent of its staff earlier this month. SIGNS OF INFLATION: The Labor Department said prices for consumer goods have risen 1.4 percent over the last year, a sign that the pace of inflation is picking up and the economy is improving. The combination of a strong dollar and cheaper oil has suppressed inflation across much of the economy, but prices of other goods have been rising. THE QUOTE: Michael Scanlon, managing director and portfolio manager for John Hancock Asset Management, said consumers are still spending plenty of money on cars, homes and travel even though some retailers are struggling. He thinks that spending is going to grow. "People feel more stable in their jobs with increasing wages (and) home prices continue to rise," he said. Gas prices are also very low, and while consumers have mostly saved that money instead of spending it, Scanlon thinks that's going to change. Gas prices have stayed low for more than a year, and he thinks shoppers will start to trust that pump prices are going to stay depressed. SHOPPING AROUND: Retailers struggled again after holiday-season results from department store operator Nordstrom disappointed Wall Street. The company said its sales were weaker than it expected and its profits were hurt because it had to match discounts offered by competitors. Nordstrom gave up $3.47, or 6.6 percent, to $49.25 while Macy's fell 96 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $40.17. Retail stocks also stumbled Thursday after Wal-Mart reported weak quarterly sales and cut its forecasts for the year. Department stores have struggled since they disclosed weak third-quarter results in November. Nordstrom is down 22 percent since its report a little more than three months ago. DEERE DOWN: Agricultural equipment company Deere lowered its sales forecast for the year as sales of farm and construction remain weak. That canceled out first-quarter results that were better than analysts expected. Deere stock lost $3.52, or 4.4 percent, to $76.81. PAID OFF: WageWorks stock added $1.80, or 4.3 percent, to $43.86. The provider of health, commuter and other employee benefits reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results. OVERSEAS: European stocks fell as the leaders of Britain and the rest of the 28-country European Union entered a second day of talks on how to reform the country's membership in the bloc. The talks are stalled over a series of issues, including immigration rights. Germany's DAX fell 0.8 percent, while France's CAC 40 and Britain's FTSE 100 both declined 0.4 percent. Asian stocks were mixed, as Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.4 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China inched down 0.1 percent. OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 1.3 cents to 95.9 cents. Heating oil lost 5.4 cents, or 5 percent, to $1.026 a gallon. Natural gas slid 4.8 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $1.804 per 1,000 cubic feet. METALS: The price of gold increased $4.50 to $1,230.80 an ounce and silver fell 5.9 cents to $15.373 an ounce. Copper held steady at $2.068 a pound. BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices ticked lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.76 percent from 1.74 percent. The euro rose to $1.1132 from $1.1094 Thursday. The dollar fell to 112.55 yen from 113.57 yen.  

Stocks leap for a 3rd day, driven by gains in oil and tech

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks climbed Wednesday as investors clung to hope for an international deal to stem a global glut in crude oil with production cutbacks. That sent the price of oil sharply higher, as well as the stocks of major energy companies like Chevron. Tech stocks also rose, led by Microsoft and Facebook. The gains capped a three-day rally, the longest so far in 2016, that has wiped out about half of the market's losses since the beginning of the year. The Standard & Poor's 500 index hit its lowest point of the year last Thursday, and has risen about 5 percent since then. Priceline, Fossil, and Garmin rose after reporting robust earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 257.42 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,453.83. The S&P 500 rose 31.24 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,926.82. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 98.11 points, or 2.2 percent, to 4,534.06. The price of oil recovered as investors again hoped for an international deal that will cap or cut production. Several OPEC nations are in talks about freezing production at January's levels, but that deal requires all of OPEC's members to agree, and Iran said Wednesday that it won't stop increasing its exports. Still, investors appeared to be encouraged that the countries are talking. The price of U.S. crude jumped $1.62, or 5.6 percent, to $30.66 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $2.32, or 7.2 percent, to $34.50 a barrel in London. U.S. crude soared Friday on anticipation of a deal, but even with the recent gains, it's still down 17 percent this year. Energy stocks climbed along with the price of oil. Chevron rose $3.50, or 4.1 percent, to $88.31 and Hess picked up $2.63, or 6.4 percent, to $43.47. Tech stocks made big gains, led by Microsoft, which added $1.33, or 2.6 percent, to $52.42, and Facebook, which rose $3.59, or 3.5 percent, to $105.20. Oil and natural gas company Devon Energy missed out on those gains after saying it will eliminate 20 percent of its staff in the first quarter and slash its spending and its quarterly dividend in response to the diminished price of oil. The stock lost 93 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $20.33. It's down 69 percent over the last year. For almost six months, stocks have surged and dropped repeatedly as investors worry about issues like the health of China's economy, the Federal Reserve's plans on interest rates, and plunging oil prices. Sameer Samana, global quantitative strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said the ride isn't over yet. "None of those issues have gone away," Samana said. "You'll continue to see that kind of pattern." Samana said U.S. companies, and large stocks in particular, are doing pretty well and that investors will eventually start paying more attention to their performance. But he said it's possible that volatility in financial markets will start to affect the broader economy, cutting into consumer spending and prompting businesses to cut jobs. While corporate earnings have been shaky, companies that surpassed analysts' expectations were rewarded on Wednesday. Online travel company Priceline climbed after its profit and revenue beat estimates. The stock gained $124.88, or 11.2 percent, to $1,235.56. Expedia rose 5 percent and TripAdvisor 3 added percent. Expedia and TripAdvisor posted strong results last week. Personal navigation device maker Garmin rose $5.83, or 16.5 percent, to $41.06 after its fourth-quarter profit topped Wall Street estimates. Watch and accessories maker Fossil posted strong results, and its annual profit guidance also pleased investors. The stock added $9.84, or 28.6 percent, to $44.30. Fossil was one of the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 last year. It lost almost two-thirds of its value as fitness trackers became more popular and the Apple Watch was launched. Pipeline company Kinder Morgan jumped 10 percent on the rise in oil prices and from the news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has taken a 1.2 percent stake in the company. The stock advanced $1.56 and closed at $17.18. U.S. factories cranked out more cars, furniture and food in January. The Federal Reserve said factory output rose 0.5 percent, the biggest increase since July. Output had fallen in four of the previous five months, and the data suggests U.S. manufacturing may be recovering after struggling last year. While the strong dollar and weak overseas growth have cut into exports and corporate profits, Americans are spending at a solid pace. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 3.3 cents to $1 a gallon. Heating oil rose 6.1 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $1.088 a gallon. Natural gas added 3.9 cents, or 2 percent, to $1.942 per 1,000 cubic feet. The price of gold rose $3.20 to $1,211.40 an ounce and silver inched up 4.3 cents to $15.377 an ounce. Copper added 2.5 cents to $2.076 a pound. European stocks also rallied. Germany's DAX rose 2.7 percent and France's CAC 40 gained 3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 picked up 2.9 percent. Asian stocks slumped, however. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.4 percent as investors shrugged off data showing strong machinery orders in January. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1 percent while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.82 percent from 1.78 percent. The dollar slipped to 113.77 yen from 113.88 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1139 from $1.1144.  

US stocks rise as oil price recovery continues; tech jumps

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed higher as energy and technology companies gained ground. The price of oil climbed for the third day in a row Thursday as key oil-producing nations discuss cuts in production. Benchmark crude rose $1.33 to $33.63. Facebook soared 16 percent after reporting big gains in subscribers and profits. That lifted other technology stocks. Biotech stocks fell after Massachusetts began investigating drug prices. Celgene gave back 5 percent and Gilead Sciences moved down 2 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 125 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,069. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,893. The Nasdaq composite rose 38 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,506. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.99 percent.

Stock market skids Weds. after cautious comments from the Fed

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks sank Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a cautious assessment of the global economy and said growth in the U.S. has slowed down. The statement from the Fed smothered a small rally in stocks earlier in the day. In addition to lowering its view of the U.S. economy, the Fed didn't say if it will respond to those and other concerns by slowing down its planned increases in interest rates. Investors sold tech stocks, already under pressure following a shaky outlook from Apple, as well as consumer stocks like travel booking sites and cruise lines. They bought conservative, dividend-paying stocks like telecommunications companies and utility providers. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 222.77 points, to 1.4 percent, to 15,944.46. A large chunk of that loss belonged to Apple and to Boeing, which gave a disappointing 2016 outlook and suffered its biggest one-day loss in 14 years. The Standard & Poor's 500 index sank 20.68 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,882.95. The slump in tech stocks hammered the Nasdaq composite index, which lost 99.51 points, or 2.2 percent, to 4,468.17. The Federal Reserve said it is watching developments in the world economy and financial markets and how they might affect the U.S. economy. It also said U.S. economic growth had slowed down. Few expected the Fed to raise interest rates this week because it just raised them last month. Sam Stovall, U.S. equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, said investors wanted the Fed to say that it won't increase interest rates at its meeting in March, and will raise interest rates after that at a more gradual pace. It didn't do that. "What the Fed was saying is 'No, March is still on the table,'" he said. Even if the U.S. economy has slowed, it's been growing steadily for years while other major economies like China, Europe and Japan have struggled. Partly for that reason, the dollar has gotten very strong compared to other global currencies, making U.S. exports more expensive and imports cheaper. That's one of the big problems facing Apple. Tim Cook, CEO of the world's most valuable publicly traded company, said the dollar is having an "extreme" effect on its sales in almost every country. Apple also said iPhone sales set another record in its latest quarter, but sales growth slowed down. It predicted a revenue decline in the current quarter, something that hasn't happened in 13 years. The stock gave up $6.57, or 6.6 percent, to $93.42. The dollar didn't change much after the Fed's announcement. The euro rose to $1.0907 from $1.0853 and the dollar rose to 118.64 yen from 118.46 yen. Further increases in interest rates are likely to make the dollar even stronger compared to other currencies. The price of crude rose as investors hoped for cuts in fuel production. On Wednesday the head of Russia's state oil pipeline monopoly said talks with OPEC and Saudi Arabia are in the works. Oil prices have plunged over the last year and a half because global supply is outstripping demand, creating a gigantic fuel glut. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 85 cents, or 2.7 percent, to close at $32.30 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose $1.30, or 4.1 percent, to $31.10 a barrel in London. Oil prices also increased about 4 percent on Tuesday. Since the Fed's last meeting in December, when it raised its benchmark interest rate from record lows, oil prices have plunged, stocks have swung wildly, and investors have become more concerned that China's huge economy, a major driver of global growth, is sputtering. Aerospace and defense giant Boeing fell after its profit forecast came up short of analysts' projections. The company also said aircraft deliveries will slip this year. Textron, which makes Cessna planes and Bell helicopters, also tumbled after its fourth-quarter profit and sales disappointed investors. Boeing stock lost $11.43, or 8.9 percent, to $116.58, its lowest closing price in more than two years. Textron fell $5.04, or 13.4 percent, to $32.69. Drugmaker Biogen rose after it reported strong fourth-quarter results, including improving sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera improved. It added $13.39, or 5.2 percent, to $273.26. Freeport-McMoRan continued to climb, picking up 45 cents, or 10.7 percent, to $4.65. The copper and energy company rose almost 7 percent Tuesday after it announced plans to cut spending and production and eliminate more jobs. Activist investor Carl Icahn also disclosed he bought a stake in the company. The stock traded above $18 a year ago. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline slipped to $1.0457 a gallon. Heating oil rose 5.8 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $1.025 a gallon. Natural gas added 0.9 cents to $2.189 per 1,000 cubic feet. Gold fell $4.40 to $1,115.80 an ounce. Silver lost 10.5 cents to $14.459 an ounce. Copper gained 2.65 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.064 a pound. France's CAC-40 added 0.5 percent while Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was 1.3 percent higher. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5 percent, adding to Tuesday's 6.4-percent loss. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1 percent.  

Stock rise, driven by a turn higher in crude oil prices

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks jumped Tuesday as the price of oil made another abrupt reversal, this time rising almost 4 percent after falling sharply the day before. Energy stocks climbed along with the price of oil, and Chevron and Exxon Mobil made major gains. Strong fourth-quarter results from beleaguered wireless provider Sprint gave telecom stocks a boost. Quarterly earnings also sent several stocks higher, including Post-it Notes maker 3M, Procter & Gamble, which makes Crest toothpaste, and luxury handbag maker Coach. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 282.01 points, or 1.8 percent, to 16,167.23. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 26.55 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,903.63. The Nasdaq composite index added 49.18 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,567.67. Energy stocks gained ground as the price of U.S. crude rose $1.10, or 3.7 percent, to close at $31.45 a barrel in New York. It fell almost 6 percent Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $1.30, or 4.3 percent, to $31.80 a barrel in London. Despite the rebound, U.S. crude is down almost 18 percent this month. Exxon Mobil picked up $2.72, or 3.7 percent, $76.70 and Chevron rose $3.23, or 4 percent, to $84.12. Quarterly earnings contributed to many of the biggest moves of the day. Procter & Gamble reported a larger profit in the fourth quarter as it raised prices and cut costs. The maker of Pantene shampoo, Crest toothpaste and Charmin toilet paper added $1.96, or 2.6 percent, to $78.81. Coach reported a greater profit than analysts had expected, and its stock rose $2.98, or 9.8 percent, to $33.33. Even with that big gain, however, it's down 10 percent over the last 12 months. 3M, which makes industrial coatings and ceramics, reported a greater profit and more revenue than analysts expected. It rose $7.21, or 5.2 percent, to $144.78. The Dow had its best day since early December. Many of the companies making the biggest gains, including Exxon, Chevron and 3M, are Dow components. The Nasdaq made smaller gains because tech stocks didn't rise as much as the broader market. Huntington Bancshares agreed to buy competitor FirstMerit Corp for $3.4 billion. The deal would create the largest bank in Ohio, and the companies would have about $100 billion in combined assets. FirstMerit added $2.82, or 18.3 percent, to $18.19 and Huntington lost 75 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $8.50. Sprint, the fourth-largest wireless provider in the U.S., posted a smaller loss in its third quarter and said its aggressive promotions lured in more users. The company raised its outlook for the year. Sprint's stock rose 47 cents, or 18.7 percent, to $2.99. The stock, which hit an all-time low last Wednesday, has been on a wild ride the last few days, jumping almost 15 percent Friday and then falling 12 percent Monday, when Sprint said it had cut about 2,500 jobs since last fall, or 8 percent of its staff. Other telecom stocks also jumped Tuesday. Verizon Communications gained $1.22, or 2.6 percent, to $48.25. While the market made broad gains and undid most of Monday's losses, it's still down substantially this year and there are signs investors have big worries about the global economy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2 percent from 2.01 percent and the yield on the two-year Treasury note dipped to 0.84 percent from 0.86 percent. In the last week the yields on those two bonds have gotten closer than they've been since June 2008, a sign that investors are concerned about economic growth. "Fear is the biggest driver," said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist for Janney Capital. LeBas said investors are also anticipating weaker inflation and think the Federal Reserve will be more cautious about raising interest rates because the market has experienced so much turmoil this month. U.S. government bonds get more popular with investors when the economy looks dicey because the U.S. government is extremely likely to make good on its debt. Investors are willing to accept lower interest payments when they are concerned about safety. When yields on longer-term bonds like the 10-year bond fall toward the yield on short-term bonds, it signals that investor expectations for future growth have dimmed. France's CAC 40 rose 1.1 percent and Germany's DAX picked up 0.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.6 percent. However Asian markets were hammered by Monday's slide in oil prices, which can signal weak demand. The Shanghai Composite dropped 6.4 percent to finish at 2,749.78, the lowest since December 2014. Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 2.4 percent to 16,708.90. Gold rose $14.90, or 1.3 percent, to $1,120.20 an ounce and silver gained 31 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $14.564 an ounce. Copper picked up 1.9 cents to $2.158 a pound. The price of gold has risen 5.8 percent this year. Only 13 stocks in the S&P 500 have made a bigger gain. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1.7 cents to $1.047 a gallon and heating oil gained 3.2 cents, or 3.5 percent, to 96.8 cents. Natural gas added 2.2 cents to $2.18 per 1,000 cubic feet. The euro edged up to $1.0853 from $1.0837, and the dollar inched down to 118.46 yen from 118.48 yen.  

Stocks slip as oil skids 6 percent, hitting energy companies

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fell Monday as the price of oil slumped again, giving up some of the ground it gained late last week. That forced energy companies lower. The stock market opened lower and stayed in the red all day. The selling accelerated in the last hour of trading. The biggest losses came in the energy sector and companies that make chemicals and paper goods. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 208.29 points, or 1.3 percent, to 15,885.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 29.82 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,877.08. The Nasdaq composite index lost 72.69 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,518.49. Plunging oil prices have been decimating profits at energy companies and getting investors worried that the global economy is slowing down. Companies that mine metals, especially copper, face the same problem. Low oil prices are also hurting banking stocks because some banks hold large amounts of loans from energy companies, and investors fear they may not get paid back. The price of benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.85, or 5.7 percent, to $30.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, lost $1.68, or 5.2 percent, to $30.50 a barrel in London. U.S. oil jumped 9 percent Friday after setting 12-year lows earlier in the week. Exxon Mobil lost $2.59, or 3.4 percent, to $73.98 and Chevron fell $2.65, or 3.2 percent, to $80.89. Chesapeake Energy lost 56 cents, or 16 percent, to $2.95. Paper and packaging companies fell on concerns about product prices falling. WestRock gave up $5.63, or 14.9 percent, to $32.11 and International Paper declined $3.87, or 10.6 percent, to $32.58. Mark Wilde, managing director BMO Capital Markets, said stocks in that sector are falling because an influential trade publication estimated that prices for containerboard, an important product, fell sharply in January. "I think it confirms people's fears," Wilde said. "Falling prices are going to mean lower earnings." Friday was the best day for the S&P 500 since early December. It was the biggest gain for the Nasdaq composite index since September. That helped stocks make their first weekly gain in the last four. The shaky global outlook helped push companies to make a slew of big deals last year, and that trend continued as Tyco International and Johnson Controls said they will combine. Tyco makes fire suppression systems and Johnson Controls makes ventilation systems, auto seating and car batteries. Both stocks have struggled as investors worried about their growth. Tyco jumped $3.56, or 11.6 percent, to $34.15, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. Johnson Controls lost $1.39, or 3.9 percent, to $34.21. Companies spent a record $5 trillion on acquisitions and other deals last year, a big jump from 2014. While few deals have been announced in the first weeks of 2016, business technology company Intralinks that will change. It thinks global deal value will rise 3.5 percent, to a total of almost $2.3 trillion. John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo Fund Management, said he expects another big year of deals even though interest rates are likely to rise. That's because companies around the world are still looking for ways to become more efficient and lift their earnings and sales growth. "I have no reason to think it's going to slow down," he said. The economic outlook didn't get any brighter Monday. Business economists became more pessimistic about profits and sales than they were last fall and expect slower economic growth, according to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics. However, most of the survey participants said their companies plan to raise wages in the first quarter. That's the largest proportion in more than a year. Heavy machinery maker Caterpillar sank after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "Sell." Analyst Jerry Revich said companies around the world are spending less money on machinery because commodity prices have dropped. Caterpillar lost $3.07, or 5 percent, to $57.91. McDonald's rose after the restaurant chain said its U.S. sales grew 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, its best result in more than three years. The company said its all-day breakfast menu and the warm weather helped its sales. Overall, its sales rose 5 percent. The stock edged up 80 cents to $119.20. Twitter continued to slide after the company said four executives, including its head of engineering, will leave the company. The stock lost 82 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $17.02. Twitter is down 57 percent in the last year. Asian markets rose. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.9 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.4 percent. Germany's DAX lost 0.3 percent, France's CAC 40 slid 0.6 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.4 percent. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents, of 5 percent, to $1.03 a gallon. Heating oil dropped 6 cents, or 6.1 percent, to 93.5 cents a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.9 cents to $2.158 per 1,000 cubic feet. The price of gold rose $9 to $1,105.30 an ounce and silver gained 19.7 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $14.254 an ounce. Copper fell less than half a cent to $1.998 per pound. U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.00 percent from 2.06 percent. The euro rose to $1.0837 from $1.0791 late Friday. The dollar fell to 118.48 yen from 118.78 yen.  

US stocks hit lowest levels since 2014 as oil prices slump

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks recovered much of an early plunge Wednesday, but the price of oil still suffered its worst one-day drop since September. Energy companies were pummeled as the latest fall in the price of oil threatened more damage to an industry that has already been stricken with bankruptcies, layoffs and other cutbacks. U.S. crude fell below $27 a barrel amid a global glut in oil supplies that won't go away. That's the lowest price since May 2003 and a far cry from the $100 a barrel it fetched in the summer of 2014. While cheap oil is good for many companies and consumers, investors are worried demand is falling because the global economy is slowing down. Overseas markets also fell. Japan's Nikkei index entered a bear market, down 20 percent from its peak in June, and European benchmarks lost between 3 and 4 percent. Gold and U.S. government bonds, traditional safe havens, rose in value as investors shifted money out of stocks. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 249 points, or 1.56 percent, to 15,766. It was down as much as 565 points earlier. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,869. The Nasdaq composite index rose 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,499. The Dow and S&P 500 are down 9 percent so far in January; the Nasdaq is down 10 percent. OIL DOWN AGAIN: Oil prices had already fallen to 12-year lows this week and U.S. crude dropped $1.91, or 6.7 percent, to $26.55 a barrel in New York. That was the biggest one-day plunge for U.S. oil since Sept. 1. U.S. crude is down 28 percent in 2016. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 88 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $27.88 a barrel in London. OIL GLUT: James Liu, global market strategist for JPMorgan Funds, said the global economy remains relatively healthy and demand for oil hasn't fallen off. But companies are still producing a great deal of oil, so tremendous stockpiles have accumulated. While companies started shutting down drilling rigs and wells in late 2014 after prices started to decline, production of oil didn't change much. "We're starting to see production declines basically two years after rig count started to decline," Liu said. He said production will keep falling and oil prices will stabilize in the middle of 2016, then start rising. ENERGY KEEPS FALLING: Energy stocks were pelted. Devon Energy lost $1.86, or 7.9 percent, to $21.62. Chevron sank $3.03, or 3.7 percent, to $78.48, the biggest loss in the Dow average. Financial stocks were also hit because banks could lose billions on loans to oil and gas companies. Bank of America lost 48 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $13.76. WHEN WILL IT END? Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of BMO Private Bank, said he thinks stocks will fall a bit further still. But he doesn't expect a global collapse. Ablin said that for years, investors bought stocks without too much regard for risk. He said investors felt that if things ever got too bad, the Federal Reserve would help prop up the market. "Investors were comfortable taking outsize risks, not because they had earnings to fall back on, but because they had the Fed to fall back on," Ablin said. So stocks made huge gains in the years since the financial crisis while the U.S. economy churned out years of steady but unspectacular growth. BIG BLUES: Commercial tech giant IBM said its revenue fell for the 15th consecutive quarter. Sales fell about $170 million short of Wall Street forecasts. The stock shed $6.66, or 5.2 percent, to $121.45. SPIRIT RISES: Spirit Airlines said its profit margins will be stronger than expected and costs for aircraft rent, maintenance and other items will be smaller. Its shares gained $4.72, or 12.5 percent, to $42.62. The plunge in energy prices has also helped airlines save money on jet fuel. BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose as traders shifted money into lower-risk investments. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.99 percent, its lowest level since October, from 2.06 percent a day earlier. That yield, which is a benchmark for setting interest rates on home mortgages and other kinds of loans, has fallen sharply since the beginning of the year. At the end of 2015 it stood at 2.30 percent. METALS: The price of gold rose $17.10, or 1.6 percent, to $1,106.20. While gold is far below its prices from the financial crisis, it's up 4 percent in 2016. The price of silver added 3.9 cents to $14.16 an ounce, and is up almost 3 percent for the year. Copper slipped 1.8 cents to $1.96 a pound and is down 8 percent for the year. OVERSEAS: Japan's Nikkei fell 3.7 percent and is down more than 20 percent from its June peak. Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 3.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1 percent. In Europe, Germany's DAX tumbled 2.8 percent and France's CAC-40 shed 3.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 3.5 percent. CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 116.72 yen from 117.44 yen late Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.0895 from $1.0923. MORE ENERGY: Wholesale gasoline dipped to $1.018 a gallon. Heating oil plunged 4.3 cents, or 4.7 percent, to 86.6 cents a gallon. Natural gas rose 2.7 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.118 per 1,000 cubic feet.  

US stock slump deepens as China woes lead to more selling

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks slipped Thursday on spreading fears about the health of China's economy, and financial and industrial stocks were among the hardest hit. China's stock market sank about 7 percent Thursday after the yuan fell to its lowest level against the dollar since March 2011. Trading was automatically suspended as a result. That set off a slump in Asian and European stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 220 points, or 1.3 percent, to 16,686 as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 27 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,963. The Nasdaq composite index fell 82 points or 1.7 percent, to 4,753. Earlier the Dow was down more than 300 points. The declines are broad as 2016 has started with a series of warning signs about the health of China's economy, the second-largest in the world. All 10 of the S&P 500 industrial sectors are trading lower. Financial stocks slumped and Citigroup gave up $1.67, or 3.3 percent, to $48.45. Industrial stocks fell, and aerospace company Boeing lost $3.31, or 2.4 percent, to $135.52 and railroad operator Union Pacific shed 76 cents, or 1 percent, to $74.07. Apple, the world's largest publicly traded company, was among the tech stocks that declined. Its shares dipped 1.7 percent and touched their lowest price since October 2014. Other global markets also fell. Germany's DAX slid 2.3 percent, the France CAC 40 gave up 1.7 percent, and Britain's FTSE 100 lost 2 percent. China's stock market has skidded this year as the government prepares to remove measures that were introduced last year to prop up share prices after a meltdown in June. Economic reports caused investors to worry about China's manufacturing and service industries. Thursday's selling was linked to weakness in the yuan, as the government's decision to let the currency get weaker may be a bad sign for the health of China's economy. China's market regulators said later Thursday that they will suspend a mechanism that automatically halts trading when stocks fall sharply. The halts, which went into effect at the beginning of the year, were triggered twice this week. The price of oil continued a protracted slide. U.S. crude dipped 62 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $33.35 a barrel in New York. On Wednesday it closed at its lowest price since December 2008. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, lost 37 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $33.86 a barrel in London. The price of gold and silver both rose more than 1 percent, with gold at $1,105.60 an ounce and silver at $14.20 an ounce. Those prices have been falling for years, but gold prices have recovered recently and are at their highest price in about two months. The price of copper fell 2.6 percent, however. Copper producer Freeport-McMoRan lost 45 cents, or 7.3 percent, to $5.72. Its stock has plunged 84 percent over the last two years. Homebuilder KB Home slumped after its fourth-quarter results fell short of Wall Street estimates. The stock declined 79 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $11. Some retail stocks performed well. Macy's, which lost about half its value since July, rose $1.29, or 3.6 percent, to $37.44 after the company said it will close 40 stores and eliminate more jobs. Teen retailer Zumiez raised its forecast for the fiscal fourth quarter, and its stock jumped $2.57, or 17.1 percent, to $17.65. Urban Outfitters climbed 68 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $22.60. Jeweler Signet reported strong holiday-season sales, and its stock gained $7.02, or 5.5 percent, to $134.33. The euro rose to $1.0870 from $1.0788. The dollar fell to 117.92 yen from 118.38 yen late Thursday. Bonds prices fell. The yield on 10-year Treasury bond edged up to 2.18 percent from 2.17 percent.   Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at

Stocks hit two-month lows as oil dives and China worries flare

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks tumbled to two-month lows Wednesday as fears about China's economy slowing down led to more widespread selling. The price of oil plunged to its lowest level since 2008 on the prospect that global demand could fall further. For the second time in three days, markets slumped on concerns about that the second-largest economy in the world is stumbling. A monthly survey of China's service industries slipped to a 17-month low. That helped knock the price of oil lower since China is a major consumer of energy. Global markets were also rattled after North Korea said it had conducted its first successful test of a hydrogen bomb. Experts in South Korea and the U.S. doubted that the country had made that breakthrough, but the announcement still caused alarm. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 252.15 points, or 1.5 percent, to 16,906.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 26.45 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,990.26, for its fourth loss in five days. The Nasdaq composite gave up 55.67 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,835.76. U.S. benchmark crude sank $2, or 5.6 percent, to close at $33.97 a barrel in New York, its lowest price since December 2008. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell $2.19, or 6 percent, to close at $34.23 a barrel in London. Southwestern Energy fell 96 cents, or 12.6 percent, to $6.69 and Marathon Oil declined $1.48, or 11.6 percent, to $11.28. France's CAC 40 shed 1.3 percent and Germany's DAX dropped 0.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 1 percent and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China rebounded 2.3 percent as the Chinese government said it will keep some market-stabilizing measures in place. Stocks also plunged Monday on signs of weakness in China's manufacturing sector. The Shanghai Composite skidded almost 7 percent that day and also fell on Tuesday. Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said the market was overreacting to the latest signs of weakness in China. "Stocks are not trading on fundamentals," he said. "They're trading on fear that Chinese growth is going to collapse and that these lower oil prices are going to lead to a growing number of defaults in the high-yield bond market." U.S. government bond prices rose Wednesday as the turbulent stock market made bonds more appealing. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.17 percent from 2.24 percent. The markets have endured a rough few days to start 2016. J.J. Kinahan, chief markets strategist for TD Ameritrade, said that's making bonds attractive. "Bonds have been up a lot this year even though the interest rates are nothing to be excited about," he said. "They want the security of knowing that their money is safe." Other energy prices also slipped. The price of wholesale gasoline sank 9.5 cents, or 7.6 percent, to $1.162 a gallon after the U.S. government said inventories of gas climbed by 10.6 million barrels last week. Citi Investment Research analyst Edward Morse said that was the biggest weekly increase since 1993. Heating oil sank 4.5 cents, or 4 percent, to $1.081 a gallon. Natural gas declined 5.6 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $2.267 per 1,000 cubic feet. Auto retailer AutoNation said it had to offer large discounts in December, especially on luxury vehicles. The company said it will report smaller profits per vehicle in the fourth quarter. The stock dropped $5.98, or 10.5 percent, to $50.76. Netflix made the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The streaming video service announced at an electronics show in Las Vegas that it would debut in 130 countries Wednesday, with the notable exception of China. Its shares rose $10.02, or 9.3 percent, to $117.68. Chipotle Mexican Grill said it received a federal grand jury subpoena as the government looks into norovirus outbreak at a California restaurant this summer. Chipotle also disclosed that sales at restaurants open at least one year plunged 30 percent in December in the wake of an E. coli outbreak that affected dozens of restaurants and a norovirus outbreak in one location in Massachusetts. The stock lost $22.36, or 5 percent, to $426.67. Chipotle has fallen 40 percent since the outbreaks began in October. The euro edged up to $1.0788 from $1.0744. The dollar fell to 118.38 yen from 118.97 yen late Tuesday. The price of gold rose $13.50, or 1.3 percent, to $1,091.90 an ounce. Silver inched up 0.5 cents to $13.976 an ounce. Copper slid 0.8 cents to $2.088 a pound. ____ Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at
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