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Wall Street cooled off today, as remarks from some of the Federal Reserve's regional presidents indicated that the central bank could begin to taper its bond-buying program as early as September. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fell for the second day in a row, losing 93 points, or 0.6%. It was the blue chips' biggest slide in more than a month.
This morning, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans told reporters, "We are quite likely to reduce the flow of purchases rate starting later this year," while the Atlanta regional president, Dennis Lockhart, issued similar remarks, saying the Fed could begin reeling in the purchases by as early as September. The statements were a bit of a shock to the market, which had begun to believe in the wake of last week's underwhelming jobs report that the taper wouldn't start until December at the earliest.
IBM (NYSE:IBM) led the Dow's descent, falling 2.3% after getting downgraded from Credit Suisse to "underperform" as analyst Kulbinder Garcha said, "future organic growth will be challenging," adding that the tech heavyweight is "effectively in decline." Among other causes, he cited the shift to cloud computing. Garcha's comments seem to be on the mark, as IBM has posted revenue declines in recent quarters and peers such as Accenture have struggled, showing that IT consulting may have reached full maturity. IBM has managed to grow EPS only through cost-cutting, reallocating resources to higher-margin areas, and share buybacks, which is not a viable strategy for growing profits over the long term.
Disney (NYSE:DIS), meanwhile, beat all other chips during the trading session, climbing 1.6%, but it fell 2% after its earnings report came out after hours. Management said the entertainment giant will take a $190 million loss on The Lone Ranger, though it didn't take the writedown in this quarter. EPS totaled $1.01, a figure that was even with a year ago, as revenue inched up 4% to $11.58, with TV and theme-park profits moving the company's performance. Earnings matched analyst expectations, but revenue was short of the mark at $11.64 billion. Stemming fears that the release of Fox Sports One later this month could put pressure on ESPN, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he saw no difference thus far in the upfront ad-season sales for the sports-broadcasting juggernaut.
Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix and Walt Disney and owns shares of IBM, Netflix, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.