Investors got what was expected after a poor showing in last Friday's jobs data. Major indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Off the financial cliff
Leading the markets' decline were financial stocks, with Bank of America
China's rising prices
Today, China reported a consumer price index increase of 3.6% for March, up from 3.2% in February. Food prices, which make up a third of the index, increased 7.5%, with bad weather for vegetables cited as a major reason for the higher-priced food. This was not welcome news for China's slowing economy, which just recently posted shaky manufacturing orders based on the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). While the government's PMI showed expansion in manufacturing, a survey by HSBC showed contraction. With higher inflation, investors fear that China's government would delay any plans to stimulate growth. Both markets in Asia and ETFs such as iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index
Oil eases off the gas
Oil prices headed downward today on the fears of a slower economy, along with a possible resolution to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Iran and the U.N. Security Council will begin talks this Friday in Istanbul, with Iran hoping to ease the sanctions in place against it, and the Security Council looking to end Iran's enrichment of uranium that could lead to nuclear weapons. While oil prices regained most of the early decline and ended down only 0.04%, ExxonMobil
With Facebook readying its shares for trading in May, the social network just purchased the popular mobile-photo company Instagram for $1 billion. Instagram has more than 30 million users and just closed a fundraising round that valued it at $500 million. For potential Facebook investors, it's either a sign that Facebook won't be afraid to pay a premium for good acquisitions, or that it will overpay to maintain social dominance.
Patents to go
Also reported today, Microsoft purchased more than 800 patents from AOL for just a little over one Instagram, or $1.1 billion. AOL plans to "return a significant portion of the sale proceeds to shareholders," and with that news, shares of AOL jumped more than 40%. AOL will still have 300 patents that cover "advertising, search, content generation/management, social networking, mapping, multimedia/streaming, and security."
Sony slings pink slips
Japanese consumer-electronics company Sony will slash 10,000 jobs, some of which will come from a chemical-products division that it agreed to sell last month and an LCD division that it spun off. This comes after a third-quarter in which Sony lost more than $2 billion, with sales down more than 12% over the last year. Beginning this month, Sony also implemented a new management structure, which positions "digital imaging, game, and mobile as the three core pillars of its electronics business."
Looking forward this week
Tomorrow, Alcoa will release first-quarter earnings, while on Friday JP Morgan Chase will report its earnings and the U.S. consumer price index for March will be released.
While each bit of news moves the markets, try keeping your sanity and understand that a long-term investing approach should not be altered by a volatile day of trading. For greater insight into a company built for the long haul, check out our free report on The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012.