Global growth worries hit stocks hard- sending the major indexes sharply lower. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks got slammed Thursday - the S&P 500 having its worst daily percentage decline since April- and washing away record gains driven by Wednesday's Fed minutes - as investors regressed to Tuesday's news that the global economy was stumbling. The IMF reported it was cutting its forecast for global growth and the head of the international body said a number of strong and emerging economies were affected. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde: SOUNDBITE" INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE SAYING: "We have trimmed our forecast for 2014 and 2015, 3.3 percent in 2014 and 3.8 percent in 2015. And what we have noted clearly is more and more country specificity in the analysis that we work. So it's not as if a group of countries, the advanced economies or the emerging market economies were recovering while others would be lagging behind. Within each group some countries are ahead and others are lagging behind. Also weighing on the markets - comments by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard saying the disconnect between the markets view when the Fed would hike rates, and the Fed's own view were concerning. Even good news on the U.S. jobs front did nothing to calm investors, who snapped up safe-haven bonds - the yield on Treasuries hitting a 15-month low and gold sprinting to a two-week high. Meanwhile the dollar slid to a three-week low versus the yen sparked by Wednesday's dovish minutes from the Federal Reserve. Energy shares had their biggest one-day decline since April 2013. U.S. crude oil prices lost more than one and a half percent. In company news, billionaire investor Carl Icahn's wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook- pushing for an even bigger stock buyback- and saying the stock should be about double where it is now. Apple said it would take his input into account when it does its annual buyback review. Bill Gross, Former chief of PIMCO, the world's largest bond fund, released his first investment outlook since joining Janus- saying he doesn't see significant bear markets - crediting supportive central bank policies. PepsiCo's profit beat the Street boosted by snack sales. It also bumped up its outlook for earnings. Gap's investors not thrilled CEO Glenn Murphy stepping down- given a stock that's tripled on his watch. Shares posting double digit loss. After the closing bell, Family Dollar earnings missed forecasts - saying the results reflect the difficult competitive environment. The discount retailer said because of its pending merger with Dollar Tree - it would not provide guidance for fiscal 2015. Action in european markets mirrored the U.S. with growth concerns dragging stocks lower.