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Financial Markets                      09/26 15:46


   NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street's ugly September got even worse Tuesday, as a 
sharp drop for stocks brought them back to where they were in June.

   The S&P 500 tumbled 1.5% for its fifth loss in the last six days. The Dow 
Jones Industrial Average dropped 388 points, or 1.1%, and the Nasdaq composite 
lost 1.6%.

   September has brought a loss of 5.2% so far for the S&P 500, putting it on 
track to be the worst month of the year by far, as the realization sets in that 
the Federal Reserve will indeed keep interest rates high for a long time. That 
growing understanding has sent yields in the bond market to their highest 
levels in more than a decade, which in turn has undercut prices for stocks and 
other investments.

   Treasury yields rose again Thursday following a mixed batch of reports on 
the economy.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 4.55% from 4.54% late Monday 
and is near its highest level since 2007. It's up sharply from about 3.50% in 
May and from 0.50% about three years ago.

   The rise in yields means bonds "now seem reasonable after a long time, but 
stocks still do not," according to strategists at Barclays led by Ajay 

   One economic report on Tuesday showed confidence among consumers was weaker 
than economists expected. That's concerning because strong spending by U.S. 
households has been a bulwark keeping the economy out of a long-predicted 

   A separate report said sales of new homes across the country slowed by more 
last month than economists expected, while a third report suggested 
manufacturing in Maryland, the Virginias and the Carolinas may be steadying 
itself following a more than yearlong slump.

   While housing and manufacturing have felt the sting of high interest rates, 
the economy overall has held up well enough to raise worries that upward 
pressure still exists on inflation. That pushed the Fed last week to say it 
will likely cut interest rates by less next year than earlier expected. The 
Fed's main interest rate is at its highest level since 2001 in its drive to get 
inflation back down to its target.

   Besides high interest rates, a long list of other worries is also tugging at 
Wall Street. The most immediate is the threat of another U.S. government 
shutdown as Capitol Hill threatens a stalemate that could shut off federal 
services across the country.

   Wall Street has dealt with such shutdowns in the past, and stocks have 
historically been turbulent in the runup to them, according to Lori Calvasina, 
strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

   After looking at the seven shutdowns that lasted 10 days or more since the 
1970s, she found the S&P 500 dropped an average of roughly 10% in the three 
months heading into them. But stocks managed to hold up rather well during the 
shutdowns, falling an average of just 0.3%, before rebounding meaningfully 

   Besides the threat of higher interest rates for longer, Wall Street is also 
contending with higher oil prices, shaky economies around the world, a strike 
by U.S. auto workers that could put more upward pressure on inflation and a 
resumption of U.S. student-loan repayments that could dent spending by 

   On Wall Street, the vast majority of stocks fell Tuesday under such 
pressures, including 90% of those within the S&P 500.

   Big Tech stocks tend to be among the hardest hit by high rates, and they 
were the heaviest weights on the index. Apple fell 2.3% and Microsoft lost 1.7%.

   Amazon tumbled 4% after the Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys 
general filed an antitrust lawsuit against it. They accuse the e-commerce 
behemoth of using its dominant position to inflate prices on other platforms, 
overcharge sellers and stifle competition.

   Cintas dropped 5.3% for the largest loss in the S&P 500. The provider of 
employee uniforms, mops, fire extinguishers and other services reported 
stronger profit for its latest quarter than analysts expected. It also raised 
its forecast for profit for the full fiscal year, but still within a range that 
many analysts earlier expected.

   Stocks fell in markets around the world, with indexes lower across Asia and 
much of Europe.

   Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.1%, South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.3% and Hong 
Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.5%.

   In China, concerns continued over heavily indebted real estate developer 
Evergrande. The property market crisis there is dragging on China's economic 
growth and raising worries about financial instability.

   France's CAC 40 fell 0.7%, and Germany's DAX lost 1%.

   Crude oil prices rose, adding to worries about inflation. A barrel of 
benchmark U.S. crude climbed 71 cents to $90.39. Brent crude, the international 
standard, added 67 cents to $93.96 per barrel.


   AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.



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