Market Report: Stocks Drop As Investors Fear Shutdown
COLUMBIA - Major indexes finished down this week as wall street showed fear of a government shutdown.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week down 192 points to close at 15,258.24, down 1.25 percent because of drops in cisco and big local employer, IBM. The NASDAQ managed to finish up to 3,781.59 because of a strong earnings report from Nike, but the index only managed a .18 percent gain for the week, and the S&P 500 closed down for the first week this month to finish at 1,691.75, a 1.06 percent loss.
Blackberry and JC Penny were the big losers this week. JCP shares fell sharply after the company denied that it was short of money, but then issued $1 billion of new shares reportedly just to raise enough cash to make it through the holidays, and the mobile phone maker had equally depressing news. It turns out no one is buying Blackberries, T-Mobile is going to stop stocking them and the company lost $1 billion last quarter.
Economic reports released this week weren't too promising.
Consumer Sentiment, which is a survey of what people think of the health of the economy, slipped to 77.5 in September, down from 82.1 in August, which is the lowest final reading since April.
Housing prices have gone up a little more than 12 percent from July 2012-2013 according the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City index, and they're up almost 2 percent from June to July, which is good news. According to Zillow, Columbia housing prices are up 7.4 percent from last year. The bad news is that more cities are seeing slowing gains each month. More people are selling homes, but fewer people are buying, which means housing prices are basically flat-lining.
The big reports this week are all about the employment situation and manufacturing orders, but the main thing to watch is if government runs out of money and shuts down if a bill isn't passed by Monday at midnight.
A government shutdown means roughly one million government workers are put on furlough, which means non-essential departments like national parks and zoos are closed as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Center for Disease Control, but you'll still be able to fly because Air Traffic Controllers will still work, get mail from the US Postal Service, and servicemen still get paid.
A key factor in the shutdown is the Affordable Care Act, but President Obama says he'll veto any bill that stops the program from starting on October 1.
The shutdown isn't as important as the debt-ceiling deadline of October 17th. The government shutdown keeps the government from making any new spending commitments, but the debt limit keeps them from paying previous commitments. If it's not raised, the US will default on some payment obligations which could severely cripple the national and world economy.