Tallahassee Journal

Stock plunge deepens: Dow down almost 300

Stock plunge deepens: Dow down almost 300

Stocks tumbled Wednesday after a weak reading on December retail sales and a profit miss from JPMorgan added to investor worries. The sharp drop puts the major indexes on track for a fourth straight day of losses. Hurting the Dow was a fourth-quarter earnings miss from Dow component JPMorgan Chase. The bank posted earnings per share of $1.19, far below the $1.31 analysts’ expected. JPMorgan’s revenue number also came in light.the-percentage-of-americans-playing-the-stock-market-is-at-an-all-time-low

Adding to the gloom, December retail sales contracted 0.9% from a year ago, falling far below the 0.1% gain expected. The Dow Jones industrial average was down nearly 300 points, or 1.7% in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.4% and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 1%.

It’s been a volatile start to the year for the Dow. Tuesday, it suffered a point swing of nearly 425 points. It was up as much as 282 points before heading south and tumbling as much as 143 points. It closed down 27 points at 17,614, leaving it down 1.2% for the year and 2.4% below its Dec. 26 peak. More turmoil in the commodities space is also weighing on investors Wednesday, as is a global growth downgrade from the World Bank for 2015. The World Bank now expects global growth of 3% this year vs. an initial estimate of 3.4%. The downgrade is due mainly to weakness in the eurozone and emerging markets.

“Oil continues to weigh on global investor sentiment,” says Alex Eppstein of Schaeffere’s Investment research. “Also in focus today is copper, as fresh 5.5-year low in the commodity — as well as a downwardly revised international growth outlook for this year and next from the World Bank — has precipitated a sell-off in mining stocks.