MarketWatch top 10 stories, Sept. 26 - 30
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 240.60 points, or 2.2%, at 10,913.38. It gained 1.3% for the week but lost 6% for the month, its fifth monthly loss in a row.
The 12.1% quarterly loss was the worst since the March 2009 quarter. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) fell 28.98 points, or 2.5%, at 1,131.42 Friday. It was off 0.4% for the week, down 7.2% for the month and off 14.3% for the quarter — its worst quarter since December 2008.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) lost 65.36 points, or 2.6%, at 2,415.40. It fell 2.7% for the week, lost 6.4% for the month and 12.9% for the quarter.
Get a head start on what's coming up with our Week Ahead videos. Also, check out our new Trading Deck for the latest commentary and investing ideas.
Greg Morcroft assistant managing editor
Europe Week Ahead: Will the ECB cut rates?
U.S. Week Ahead: What to watch for in the fourth quarter
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) lifted the wraps on its long-rumored tablet called the Kindle Fire — surprising investors with a $199 starting price that puts the device at a 60% discount to the cheapest version of the iPad. Amazon showed off the new tablet at a packed media event to about 300 journalists in New York. "We are building premium products at nonpremium prices," Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said. Read MarketWatch coverage of Amazon's Kindle Fire.
The German parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to increase the size and flexibility of the euro-zone rescue fund, providing an important victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she battles growing public skepticism over the country's role in bailing out its currency partners. In a closely watched vote, 523 members of the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, voted in favor of the enhanced powers, while 85 voted against and three abstained. More crucially, Merkel's ruling center-right coalition provided 315 votes, news reports said, meaning she didn't have to rely on the backing of opposition parties to win passage of the measures. Read MarketWatch coverage of German Parliamentary vote.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the largest U.S. bank by assets, plans to charge customers a $5 monthly fee for making debit-card purchases starting early next year, according to an internal memo sent to bank executives. The fee will apply to customers with various checking accounts during any month they use their debit card to make a purchase. The fee will not apply to customers who do not use their debit card to make a purchase, or who only use it to make ATM transactions. Read MarketWatch coverage of Bank of America debit fee.
The stock and bond markets are behaving in a way that, with only one exception at the depths of the 2008-09 crisis, they have not since 1958 — 53 years ago: The stock market's dividend yield is now above the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note. For example, the dividend yield on the Dow is 2.8%, and on the S&P 500 it is 2.2%. The 10-year T-note yield, in contrast, is just 2%. This might not initially strike you as that big of a deal, but it is. Read Mark Hulbert's commentary on MarketWatch.
It's not what you earn, but what you keep. That old adage is true when saving for retirement and it's equally important — if not more so — when it comes to withdrawing money from your various accounts earmarked for retirement. But the conventional wisdom and advice about the best way to take money out of those accounts just might leave you with less, not more, after-tax wealth. As a general rule, it's usually better to sell long-term investments held in taxable accounts instead of taking money from tax-deferred accounts before you have to. But this general rule could be hazardous to your after-tax income and after-tax wealth. Read Robert Powell commentary on MarketWatch.
Given the bloated supply of existing homes for sale, including a glut of foreclosure there aren't many people willing to shell out a premium price for a newly built house. Despite a likely higher price tag, a home builder will say that you're buying a better product when you buy new. For one, it's a home designed for the way Americans live today, maximizing the usability of space and offering amenities that speak to modern needs, such as big closets. Plus, new homes are built to be more energy-efficient. Read Amy Hoak's Home Economics column on MarketWatch.
Unemployment remains high and the job market is tough for many. But people still need other people to repair their cars, do their accounting, repair computers, write apps and even sell them things. And there currently are more opportunities in those occupations than others, according to online job postings. Here's are some examples of occupations with relatively good online job ad growth. Read Ruth Mantell's On The Job column, on MarketWatch.
Europe is bust. Buy Europe! That, at least, is the call from the smartest investor I know — Crispin Odey, a hedge-fund manager in London. "It may be confusing to find someone who believes that a crisis is on its way but is also happy to buy equities ahead of the crisis," he writes in his latest bulletin to investors. "My reason is that the worries have been there for so long, the causes are so obvious and the valuations are so cheap that this is a case of buying early. For me, the crisis will bring resolution and with it higher prices." Read Brett Arends's column on MarketWatch.
"The government is the problem," they say. "The government can't create jobs." Or: "The government should just get out of the way." How many times over the past three — or 30 — years have you heard conservatives (and even a few liberals) say that there's no role for government in fixing our economy? They're wrong, but this constant refrain is having an impact on our political system; it's narrowing our options as we struggle with excessive unemployment, burdensome debt and wasted lives. But the idea that the American government can do nothing right has become so pervasive that I feel compelled to point out what used to be obvious to everyone: Our democratic government — along with you, me and our ancestors — created the conditions that have allowed private citizens and companies to build a great nation. This land was made by you and me. Here are the 10 best things the government has done to improve our lives. Read Rex Nutting's commentary on MarketWatch.
The Labor Department recently released August inflation numbers, showing that consumer prices rose 0.4% on the month. That's an annualized rate of 3.8% and the ugliest pace since November 2008. But don't get mad at inflation. Get even. A savvy investor can profit from the big inflationary trends now and hopefully offset the damage caused by price increases — and then some. Here are three moves to make now to profit from inflationary pressures. Read Jeff Reeves's investment advice on MarketWatch's new Trading Deck.