The blue chips have logged three triple-digit losses in a row; the last time we saw a losing streak like that was back in September.
Yesterday, the Dow fell by 104 points, but it could have been a lot worse. The market recovered from a 200-point selloff in part on a report that the Federal Reserve may be taking more action to stimulate the economy. The Nasdaq Composite fell 27 points and the S&P 500 lost 12.
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Investors are concerned about weakening corporate profit reports from companies like UPS (NYSE:UPS), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
Apple reported profits of $8.8 billion in its third-quarter on revenue of $35 billion; both measures badly missed Wall Street expectations, sending the shares down some 5% in after hours trading. It was a rare miss for the tech giant; in fact, it was only its second miss in 39 quarters.
Apple blamed flat sales in Europe, and constant rumor and speculation regarding new products, like the iPhone 5. Many of Apple's loyal customers are waiting until the end of the year when the newest iPhone is expected to hit store shelves.
That's why in the quarter just wrapped up, Apple sold 26 million iPhones, down from more than 35 million in the previous quarter, as customers simply wait it out.
As for sales of its other products, Mac sales were flat, iPods disappointed, and the big bright spot: iPads. Apple sold 17 million of the popular tablet in the quarter.
Netflix shares are getting hammered after the movie-by-mail and online streaming service said it is making money but will likely lose money again come the end of the year.
Netflix reported a $6.2 million quarterly profit, a decline of more than 90% from a year ago.
Netflix also cautioned that it's been difficult to sign up new customers, particularly with the summer Olympics stealing the spotlight until the middle of August.
Auto repair website AutoMD.com says 78% of Americans are waiting until their car is at least 10 years old before buying a new one. Only 3% of people polled said they'd buy new wheels every 3 to 5 years. Perhaps that spells good news for auto-parts suppliers and mechanics expected to get increased business; but it's bad news for Detroit's car makers.
Toyota said it sold 4.97 million vehicles in the first six months of the year. General Motors (NYSE:GM) releases its first-half numbers Aug. 2, but it's likely to be unseated by Toyota as the world's top automaker.