The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) had fallen more than 55 points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. IBM (NYSE: IBM ) was one of the worst-performing stocks in the index, while Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO ) shares likewise slumped and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) rose slightly.
PPI beats expectations
The Producer Price Index, or PPI, a measure of inflation in the supply chain, rose 0.6% on a month-over-month basis last month, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was more than the 0.2% rise economists had anticipated.
A higher PPI indicates a greater degree of inflation in the U.S. economy -- the PPI is widely considered to be a leading indicator of the Consumer Price Index, the most significant measure of inflation in the nation's economy. While runaway inflation can be dangerous, higher prices suggests stronger economic activity.
Take-Two slumps on earnings
Take-Two shares fell 7.5% on Wednesday after the company posted earnings that appeared to disappoint investors. Take-Two is a major video game publisher, most known for its popular Grand Theft Auto franchise. The most recent entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto 5, has shipped 33 million units, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time.
But unlike other popular video game franchises, Take-Two doesn't release new Grand Theft Auto games on an annual basis. In the years between releases, investors may be concerned that the company will be unable to deliver. Take-Two's earnings were actually better than what analysts had expected, and its guidance was basically in line with projections, but the company provided little insight regarding its product pipeline.
IBM warns of slower Chinese growth
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty was speaking at the company's investor briefing on Wednesday. As she spoke, shares were lower by 1.1%.
Rometty admitted that IBM's growth in China had been slowed by hardware, and that its hardware profit would be flat in 2014 compared to the prior year. On a positive note, however, Rometty offered guidance for fiscal 2015, promising earnings of at least $20 per share -- analysts had been expecting just slightly less.
Apple said to be planning iPhone launch in September
Apple shares were just above breakeven following reports that the company was likely to launch the next iPhone in September. A German website, iFun.de, reported that Apple retail workers in Germany had been told they would not be able to take time off during that month. Given the madness that generally accompanies new iPhone releases, ensuring stores are adequately staffed would be a top priority.
Apple generally releases the new iPhone in September, so this report is not altogether surprising. Still, there had been rumors that Apple was planning to push up the iPhone 6's release into August.
R.I.P. Internet -- 1969-2014
At only 45 years old... the Internet will be laid to rest in 2014. And Silicon Valley is thrilled. Because they know... The Economist believes the death of the Internet "will be transformative." In fact, the CEO of Cisco Systems -- one of the largest tech companies on the planet -- says somebody's going to bank "14.4 trillion in profit from one concept alone."