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Severe weakness in emerging markets is spooking investors on Wall Street, with today seeing the second consecutive steep sell-off. By early afternoon in New York, the Dow Jones was down 1.15% or 186 points, having been down more than 200 points earlier in the day, while the S&P 500 lost 1.39% and the NASDAQ 100 tumbled 1.3%.
The S&P 500 is now down 2.5% on the year so far, with earnings not doing enough to maintain the lofty prices attained in 2013.
Dow component Procter & Gamble is one of today’s few notable risers, gaining 2.7% after reporting better-than-expected earnings. Even with P&G it’s a mixed picture though, failing to meet estimates with its revenue, and earnings failing to match the equivalent period from a year earlier.
Microsoft is another stock to have made gains, rising 2.9%; the software and services company reported forecast-beating earnings after the market last night, boosted by strong sales of its Xbox platform and growth in its cloud services.
Worries over a decline in China’s growth, sparked by a decline in its PMI manufacturing mid-week, have coincided with considerable weakening of emerging market currencies. Intervention by the Turkish central bank has failed to arrest a steep slide in the Turkish lira, while the Argentinian peso dropped 11% yesterday against the US dollar. The US dollar has gained 0.95% against the South African rand today, and risen to its strongest level against the Mexican peso in a year and a half.