Thanks a lot, Washington! Stocks fall again

Thanks a lot, Washington! Stocks fall again

POSTED: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 7:59am

UPDATED: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 2:09pm

Political leaders in Washington are not inspiring much confidence lately. And that's keeping investors on the sidelines.

With several Congressional crises brewing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell slightly. Markets are on track for a losing week. Stocks were up Thursday, but that was after a five-day losing streak.

A possible government shutdown and a rapidly approaching debt limit could prevent the government from paying all its bills.

But while stocks have stalled a bit lately, investors aren't exactly panicking. The recent slump comes just a week after the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs. All three major indexes are still up between 17% and 25% for the year.

Most investors expect Congress will strike a last-minute deal to raise the debt limit.

What's moving: Shares of new Dow component Nike jumped 6% following quarterly results that beat expectations.

J.C. Penney shares sank 10% on news that the struggling retailer will raise $810 million via a public offering of 84 million shares. While this money will give J.C. Penney a cash cushion for its attempted turnaround, current shareholders will see their stock diluted.

BlackBerry, which announced plans this week to go private, released dismal earnings Friday morning, including a $965 million quarterly loss. Still, these losses were widely anticipated, since BlackBerry had preannounced results late last week. The company's stock rose nearly 2%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index back in fear mode

European markets were drifting lower in afternoon trading. Asian markets closed higher Friday after China announced that it is establishing a free trade zone in Shanghai, driving up the shares of companies with Shanghai in their names. The Nikkei finished lower.

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What's kind of funny about this is that the markets respond to many more indicators other than what is going on in Washington...consider the world economic situation, world markets, manufacturing data, political climates throughout the world, etc., and you will see that Washington's "temperature" is only one of many factors...and, if one takes the long view of market conditions, there is always volatility and certainly always highs and lows involved. Thanks to repubs, it's volatile these days.

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