News Column

Wall Street sinks as investors retreat from emerging markets

January 25, 2014

By Paul Wiseman and Joshua Freed The Associated Press Fear is back in the market. Investors are worried about slower economic growth in China , a gloomier outlook for U.S. corporate profits and an end to easy- money policies in the U.S. and Europe . They're also fretting over country-specific troubles around the world - including economic mismanagement in Argentina and political instability in Turkey . Those fears converged this week to start a two-day rout in global markets that was capped by a 318.24-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average Friday. It was the blue-chip index's worst day since last June. The Dow plunged almost 500 points over the two days. The Dow finished at 15,879.11 Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 38.17 points to 1,790.29. The Nasdaq composite fell 90.70 points to 4,128.17. The turbulence coincides with a global economic shift: China and other emerging-market economies appear to be running into trouble just as the developed economies of the U.S. and Europe show signs of renewed strength nearly five years after the end of the Great Recession. The trouble began Thursday after a January survey showed a drop in Chinese manufacturing activity. Days earlier, China reported that its economic growth last year matched 2012 for the slowest pace since 1999. Slower growth in China is bad news for countries that supply oil, iron ore and other raw materials to the world's second-biggest economy. Some of those countries, such as Indonesia and South Africa , already were struggling with an outflow of capital as rising U.S. interest rates drew investors to the United States . And the scaling back of the Fed's easy-money policies has hit some emerging markets hard. When the Fed was pushing U.S. rates lower, emerging markets had seen an inflow of capital from investors seeking higher returns than they could get in the U.S. Now, investment is flowing back to America, hammering currencies in emerging markets.

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Source: Virginian - Pilot

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