Stocks Drop As Earnings Disappoint; Fed Upcoming

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Stocks fell Wednesday as investors reacted to disappointing earnings from Yahoo and other companies and awaited news from the Federal Reserve, which wraps up its two-day policy meeting later in the day. Emerging markets were also unsettling investors again.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 99 points, or 0.6 percent, to 15,829 as of 11:04 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,783. The Nasdaq composite fell 21 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,070.

VOLATILITY RISING: The S&P 500 index is down 3.6 percent this month, putting it on track for its biggest monthly decline since May 2012. That’s a big contrast from last year, when the index rose almost 30 percent, its best year since 1997.

FED DAY: The Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day policy meeting later Wednesday and is expected to announce that it will continue to reduce, or “taper,” its bond purchases to $65 billion a month from $75 billion a month. The policy is intended to hold down long-term interest rates and stimulate the economy by encouraging borrowing and hiring.

The recent volatility in global stock markets is unlikely to deter policy makers from cutting their stimulus, said Lawrence Creatura, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors.

“It’s not the Fed’s responsibility to take care of the stock market,” said Creatura. “Employment and inflation are their only focus.”

LIRA TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: The Turkish lira gave up much of its gain against the dollar after surging late Tuesday when the nation’s central bank raised its benchmark lending rate to hold down inflation. The currency’s slump has been at the center of an emerging-market sell-off that prompted jitters in global stock markets over the past week.

The lira traded at 2.25 per dollar on Wednesday, about where it was before the Turkish central bank raised interest rates late Tuesday Eastern time.

NOT GOOGLE: Yahoo fell $2.48, or 7 percent, to $35.75 after the company reported a drop in fourth-quarter revenue late Tuesday, highlighting its trouble in bringing in online advertising dollars. Yahoo reported a 6 percent decline in revenue, the same rate of decline for all of 2013.

PLANE DISAPPOINTEMENT: Boeing fell $6.35, or 4.6 percent, to $130.79 after the plane maker said that 2014 revenue and profit would be lower than analysts have been expecting as the pace of orders slows.

PHONING IT IN: AT&T, the nation’s biggest telecommunications company, fell 92 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $32.78 after its outlook for the year disappointed investors. The phone company said its forecast “assumes no lift from the economy,” and predicted earnings to be in the mid-single digit range.

TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.72 percent from 2.75 percent. The price of oil fell 52 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $96.91 a barrel. Gold rose $13.10, or 1.1 percent, to $1,263.90 an ounce.

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