The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is looking down in the dumps today, having dropped 120 points with about an hour left in the trading session. Without much economic news on tap today, the slump could be a reaction to some glad tidings yesterday that may be reigniting fears of a Federal Reserve move to taper its quantitative-easing program earlier than expected.
One early-morning announcement may also be fueling taper fears: November car sales. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend appears to have goosed auto sales, with all three U.S. automakers saying that sales were especially strong in November -- particularly toward the end of the month. Overall, sales rose about 7% from the same time last year.
Big banks drop by late morning
Both JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) are in the red, more or less pacing the broader market. Apparently, investors weren't impressed with JPMorgan's $11 million payday for its work advising the U.K.'s Co-operative Bank on its recent takeover of the Britannia Building Society.
A couple of news items might be causing investors to be concerned with the big banking sector today. Bloomberg reports that U.S. regulators will be meeting next Tuesday to discuss and vote on the final version of the Volcker rule, which will prevent banks from using their own money when engaging in speculative trading. Five regulatory agencies will need to vote in favor of the rule for it to be implemented. Banks have opposed the rule, which was proposed back in October 2011.
On the mortgage front, Wells Fargo has announced that it will likely continue to offer home loans that don't conform to new mortgage rules that are meant to help prevent another mortgage crisis. The Wall Street Journal says the new rules regarding "qualified mortgages" will be in effect in January and will tighten parameters to assure that borrowers will be able to repay their loans. JPMorgan Chase noted that it, too, will probably continue to originate mortgages that won't conform to the new rules but will likely only do so with its more wealthy customers. Still, the idea of banks offering loans with more risks might be spooking investors a bit today.
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