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Just as markets breathed a sigh of relief over the Fed's reluctance to wind down its bond-buying program, taper talk has started up again. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard appeared earlier today on Bloomberg Television, calling the Fed's decision not to taper "borderline," and saying that data supporting a taper in October could very well occur. By late morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) and the S&P 500 were both in the red.
On the Dow, there are some surprise movers today, starting with some upside for a downtrodden JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) .
Despite more news concerning the Securities and Exchange Commission's probing into the London Whale fiasco, JPMorgan is up more than 0.80% today. Even though the bank admitted to wrongdoing and paid a hefty fine, the bank is still being harangued by the SEC. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the agency is pursuing civil charges against individual employees at the bank. The only good news is that CEO Jamie Dimon is apparently not a focus of these inquiries.
At the other end of the spectrum is Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , down more than 1.5% today after releasing some dismal retail equipment sales numbers. The 10% decrease in sales from one year ago follow sales declines in July and June, also compared to sales in the same months in 2012. The 30% drop in Asia-Pacific sales is the highest so far this year.
Also falling fast is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , so far the biggest loser with a drop of nearly 2.5% by late morning. After acknowledging that his short-sightedness failed to see that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone was leaving Microsoft in the dust, lame-duck CEO Steve Ballmer beseeched investors at yesterday's annual meeting to keep the faith and stand by the company. No doubt, all the brouhaha surrounding the opening day for sales of Apple's new iPhone 5S and 5C models isn't helping Mr. Softy this morning, as news outlets such as Bloomberg report long lines of consumers all over the world waiting for Apple stores to open.
The battle begins
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