Tallahassee Journal

Stocks fall on mixed earnings, global concerns

Stocks fall on mixed earnings, global concerns

Stock losses accelerated in morning trading Tuesday as a mixed batch of earnings reports and concerns about global growth weigh on investor sentiment. Earnings season kicks into high gear this week with Morgan Stanley, Johnson & Johnson, Halliburton and Delta Air Lines among the companies filing before the opening bell. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 100 points, or 0.7%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.5%.AP FINANCIAL MARKETS WALL STREET F USA NY

Oil prices fell as benchmark U.S. crude was down more than 4% to $46.48 a barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecasts for global growth over the next two years, warning Tuesday that weakness in most major economies will trump gains from lower oil prices.  The IMF downgraded projections it issued in October by 0.3 percentage point each, predicting global growth at 3.5% this year and 3.7% in 2016.

Chinese stocks rebounded slightly from a dramatic dive the day before. The Shanghai composite gained 1.8% Tuesday following an 8% plunge the day before after the country’s securities regulator imposed margin trading curbs on several major brokerages, a sign that authorities are trying to rein in the market’s big gains. China’s economy expanded 7.4% last year, which was its weakest performance in 24 years, but fourth quarter growth of 7.3% was slightly higher than expected. China’s slowdown is partly a function of Beijing’s efforts to transform the economy, weaning it off overreliance on heavy industry and trade in favor of domestic consumption.

In other Asian markets: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.9% European markets were mostly higher as the European Central Bank is expected to launch more stimulus measures when they meet Thursday. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.4% and France’s CAC 40 gained 1%. Germany’s DAX dipped 0.1%. Europe’s stagnant economy got some positive news Tuesday as a German survey of market optimism rose more than expected in January thanks to cheaper oil and a weaker euro, while a survey of bank lending showed more demand from companies for loans to invest in new production.