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Update on the latest in business:

Thursday - 1/30/2014, 4:30am  ET



Stocks slide on weak earnings; Fed cuts stimulus

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock investors are still concerned about global economic prospects in 2014. And they had plenty worry about yesterday.

Disappointing earnings from big U.S. companies, ongoing jitters in emerging markets and more cuts to the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus combined to push stocks lower for the fourth day out of the last five.

The S&P 500 index fell 18 points, or 1 percent, to 1,774. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 190 points, or 1.2 percent, to 15,738. The Nasdaq composite dropped 46 ½ points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,051.

Stocks opened lower in response to the lackluster earnings news. The market added to its declines yesterday after the Fed's announcement at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

The Fed said it will lower its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $65 billion because of a strengthening U.S. economy.


Asian stocks down as Fed reduces stimulus

TOKYO (AP) -- Shares fell today in Asia as weak economic data from China and Japan deepened concerns over ongoing reductions in U.S. monetary stimulus.

After a euphoric rise in Japan's stock market last year, sentiment has dimmed as the Japanese yen reversed some of its weakness against the U.S. dollar, raising worries over the potential impact on exporters.

The recent volatility in emerging market currencies has led investors to shift toward "safe haven" currencies such as the yen and dollar.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to further "taper," or reduce, its mortgage and long-term bond purchases was a major factor in roiling Asian markets.

The monthly purchases have supported U.S. economic recovery by keeping interest rates low but also sent money into stocks and other assets with higher returns.

Benchmark crude oil rose above $97.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and was little changed against the yen.


Major business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON -- The government will report weekly jobless claims today and the nation's fourth quarter gross domestic product.

Investors will be updated on the housing market today when the National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for December and Freddie Mac reports weekly mortgage rates.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee will hold a hearing today on lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

There are a slew of earnings reports set for release.

Companies reporting quarterly financial results before the market opens are Exxon Mobil, 3M, Altria Group, Viacom, Ericsson, Harley-Davidson and UPS.

After the closing bell, investors will hear from Google,, Visa and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Royal Dutch Shell also reports fourth quarter earnings today.


Economy likely showed strength at the end of 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Economists are predicting that economic growth results being announced today will show solid results.

The government will make its first of three estimates of economic growth for the October-December quarter. Economists are forecasting an annual growth rate of 3.3 percent, after an even stronger 4.1 percent rate for July through September.

Most economists think 2014 will produce the strongest growth since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Many foresee GDP growth of 3 percent or better.

For all of 2013, analysts think the economy grew about 1.9 percent. That would be below the 2.8 percent growth for 2012 as measured by the gross domestic product. GDP represents the country's total output of goods and services.

A key reason for their optimism is an improved outlook for the government sector.

This year, economists also think the economy will get a lift from continued gains in hiring.


Google's Motorola misstep could be Lenovo's boon

UNDATED (AP) -- An expensive mistake by Google could turn into a golden opportunity for China's Lenovo Group as it expands beyond its success in the personal computer industry.

Google is ridding itself of a financial headache by selling Motorola Mobility's smartphone business to Lenovo for $2.9 billion. The deal announced late yesterday comes less than two years after Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.4 billion in the biggest acquisition of Google's 15-year history.

Already the world's largest PC maker, Lenovo is now determined to become a bigger player in smartphones as more people rely on them instead of laptop and desktop computers to go online.

Lenovo already is among the smartphone leaders in its home country, but it has been looking for ways to expand its presence in other markets, especially the U.S. and Latin America.

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