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What’s going on with the markets?

Alisa Roth Jan 20, 2010
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What’s going on with the markets?

Alisa Roth Jan 20, 2010
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Kai Ryssdal: We got a listener e-mail earlier today that said, tongue in cheek, I think, that the guy can’t wait to hear a story about the stock market tanking because of Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts. And the markets did indeed have a rough day. The Dow was off more than 200 points early on. IBM was down, as were Alcoa, and Caterpillar and Kraft Foods, and all the rest. And we’ll have more on that later, as we always do.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think any of it had much to do at all with politics. We asked Marketplace’s Alisa Roth what was really going on.


ALISA ROTH: The short answer is China. The Chinese government’s reportedly been telling big banks to stop lending so much money.

Uri Landesman is head of global growth at ING Investment Management. He says the rumor is there’ll be less lending overall in China this year.

URI LANDESMAN: That got people concerned that China might be trying to put the brakes on the economy, which conceivably could have a deleterious effect on demand for commodities and even some finished goods as well.

But it’s not just China. IBM posted lousy earnings late yesterday. And today, Morgan Stanley said it lost more than $900 million last quarter.

Richard Sparks is an equities analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. He says investors also didn’t like what the Commerce Department had to say. It reported some disappointing housing numbers.

RICHARD SPARKS: The economic recovery currently is fragile, so anything that might suggest that it’s not moving along nicely could spook the markets a bit.

There could be more bumps tomorrow. Analysts have high hopes for Goldman Sachs and Google’s earnings. They’re less convinced about Continental Airlines and Xerox.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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