Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

January 31, 2014

Stocks end January with another decline

(Continued)

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, said Friday that earnings may come in at the low end or below its prior forecasts. It also expects sales at stores open at least a year to be flat. The company previously forecast that sales would be modestly higher.

Wal-Mart's forecast echo the comments from Macy's, Target, Best Buy and other retailers.

Of the companies who have reported so far, 44 companies have cut their full-year profit outlooks while 10 have increased their outlooks, according to data from FactSet.

Adding to concerns about the U.S. economy and earnings were problems in overseas markets.

The bad overseas news started with China. A recent report showed that manufacturing activity in the world's second-largest economy unexpectedly contracted in January. The report added to other recent signs that the Chinese economy was slowing down after years of massive growth.

Then came currency troubles in smaller emerging markets, particularly Turkey, South Africa and Argentina.

All three saw their currencies fall sharply against the dollar, as investors began to pull out of emerging markets and return their money to less-risky parts of the globe.

"These governments were financing themselves with (foreign investor money), and now that these investors are looking to go home, there's no source of money to replace them," said Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Oppenheimer Funds.

On Friday, the U.S. stock market closed out January on yet another down note. The Dow fell 149.70 points, or 0.9 percent, to 15,698.91. The S&P 500 dropped 11.61 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,782.57 and the Nasdaq lost 19.25 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,103.88.

Investors shouldn't panic yet, money managers say.

They will get the January jobs report next week. Also, another 93 members of the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings.

"A 5 percent decline in equities is not an earthshattering event by any measure, particularly after last year," Memani said. "It's still way too early to give up on equities."

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Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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