Russia's currency woes increase global growth concerns, sending stocks lower for the third day in a row. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks fell for the third time in a row- a volatile session led by declines in consumer discretionary and technology shares. A drop in the Russian rouble added to worries about the global economy. Shares of Darden rose in after hours trading. Improving demand at its Olive Garden restaurants helped grow quarterly sales about 5 percent. The chain lost less money than expected and declared a quarterly dividend. It's the first report card since the struggling restaurant chain's entire board was ousted by activist investors Starboard Value. And it is official. American Apparel has ousted founder and former CEO Dov Charney- months after suspending him for misconduct. The markets also on edge waiting for the Fed's two-day meeting to wrap up. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi's chief financial economist Chris Rupkey: SOUNDBITE: CHRIS RUPKEY, CHIEF FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I've been looking for higher rates since each of the last three years, and they find another reason not to normalize policy. Yeah, I'm thinking March. My recommendation would be December. I think we're close enough to full employment now." Economic news was a wash: housing starts and permits fell last month but were at levels suggesting an improving housing market. Russia jacked up its interest rate to 17 percent to try to shore up the falling rouble, but its currency only plummeted further. That slammed Russian stocks like internet search engine Yandex and telecoms firm Mobile Telesystems. Investors sought safety in gold, and that pushed up gold mining stocks. Crocs attracted buyers after it named board director Gregg Ribatt as CEO. They're hoping he'll transform the maker of the colorful slip-on shoes, which has seen profit fall in five of the last six quarters. Among the top gainers on the NSYE: Talisman Energy. The Spanish oil company Repsol is buying the Canadian oil producer for $13 billion. In Europe, stocks turned around sharply late in the day to close higher. Traders credited U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's comments about Russia's constructive moves toward reducing tensions with Ukraine.