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U.S. Stocks Fall as Markets Extend Rocky Stretch

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A punishing stretch for markets continued Wednesday, with technology stocks leading major indexes lower yet again as worries about global economic growth and corporate earnings continued to spook investors.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.2% and was near correction territory, defined as a drop of 10% from a recent peak. Semiconductor stocks dragged the technology sector lower following weaker-than-expected sales targets from Texas Instruments, and downbeat earnings from AT&T hurt communications shares.

The S&P 500 slid 0.6% and on pace for a sixth consecutive decline and 13th drop in the past 15 sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68 points, or 0.3%, to 25124 after opening slightly higher. Like the S&P, the blue-chip index is more than 7% off its recent all-time high and has been recording bigger-than-normal intraday swings.

Anxiety about weakness in the global economy and a slowdown in corporate profitability have swung global stocks and commodities lately. The declines in tandem across asset classes have raised concerns that the worst could still be ahead for investors, who are also grappling with the impact of higher interest rates.

“We just have a bunch of different uncertainties, and that raises the fear factor all around,” said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer of First American Trust.

Analysts have been weighing whether the recent selloff heralds the end of a prolonged period of strength in the U.S. or is simply a temporary adjustment.

While some investors expect another steady quarter of earnings growth to help the market stabilize, others are worried about pockets of weakness and that revenue gains might be peaking.

Downbeat sales targets from

Texas Instruments


TXN -4.84%

dragged down shares of companies that make computer chips, leading to declines across the broader technology sector. Texas Instruments,

Nvidia


NVDA -4.99%

and

Advanced Micro Devices


AMD -6.42%

all fell at least 43%, and the S&P 500 information technology group dropped 1.3%.

Fast-growing internet and technology firms have been among the hardest hit by the recent bout of market turbulence, with some analysts wondering if their outsize sales increases can continue.




UPS -3.66%

AT&T


T -6.03%

was also an S&P 500 laggard, dropping 6.5% as the telecommunications company continued to suffer losses of traditional pay-TV customers.

The Dow industrials on Tuesday fell almost 550 points before making up most of the losses in the final hours of trading.

The Dow industrials on Tuesday fell almost 550 points before making up most of the losses in the final hours of trading.


Photo:

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News

In other sectors,

United Parcel Service


UPS -3.66%

shares fell 3.8% following a quarterly sales miss from the package-delivery company.

Shares of aerospace giant

Boeing


BA 3.47%

rose 2.3%, helping the Dow industrials after it said its business is booming, thanks to strong demand for commercial jets and new defense projects. Still, the S&P 500 industrials sector declined 1.6%, after it was battered Tuesday following weak earnings from

Caterpillar


CAT -3.28%

and 3M.

A number of companies are scheduled to post quarterly results after the market closes Wednesday, including

Microsoft
,


MSFT -3.00%

Ford, Visa and Tesla.

Some executives have raised tighter financial conditions and higher input costs as challenges moving forward, with the Federal Reserve expected to continue to gradually boosting interest rates.

On Wednesday, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to 3.122%, according to Tradeweb, from 3.166%. Bond yields fall as prices rise and have pulled back recently with some investors seeking safety in Treasurys. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of 16 other currencies, added 0.3%.

President Trump blasted Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, saying the head of the central bank threatened growth and appeared to enjoy raising interest rates.

But tightening monetary policy alone doesn’t explain the recent market tremors, said Robin Creswell, managing principal at Payden & Rygel, who pointed to geopolitical tensions as another source of angst.

“What is complicating the picture is a range of extraneous factors,” Mr. Creswell said. “Those are much more difficult to price, so in the short term the market will react more to those short-term stimuli.”

Investors are waiting to see if the U.S. and China can resolve their monthslong tariff fight ahead of planned meetings between leaders from the world’s two largest economies next month.

Even if the two sides compromise, some analysts see challenges to the global economy ahead.

Weakness in the housing and auto markets have unnerved investors bracing for a pullback in the U.S., where growth has surged this year. Sales of new homes in the U.S. fell for the fourth month in a row in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Preliminary eurozone purchasing managers index data on Wednesday suggested the regional economy grew at its slowest pace in over two years in October. The figure dropped to 52.7 from 54.1 last month. That is the lowest level since September 2016.

The Stoxx Europe 600 erased early gains Wednesday, closing down 0.2%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.4%, while South Korea’s Kospi benchmark and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.4%.

Write to Amrith Ramkumar at amrith.ramkumar@wsj.com

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4 things kids need to know about money

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(NC) Responsible spending includes knowing the difference between wants and needs. Back-to-school season, with added expenses and expectations around spending, is the perfect time to not only build your own budget for the year ahead, but also to introduce your own children to the concept of budgeting.

The experts at Capital One break down four basic things that every child should know about money, along with tips for bringing real-life examples into the conversation.

What money is. There’s no need for a full economic lesson,but knowing that money can be exchanged for goods and services, and that the government backs its value, is a great start.
How to earn money. Once your child understands what money is, use this foundational knowledge to connect the concepts of money and work. Start with the simple concept that people go to work in exchange for an income, and explain how it may take time (and work) to save for that new pair of sneakers or backpack. This can help kids develop patience and alleviate the pressure to purchase new items right away that might not be in your budget.
The many ways to pay. While there is a myriad of methods to pay for something in today’s digital age, you can start by explaining the difference between cash, debit and credit. When teaching your kids about credit, real examples help. For instance, if your child insists on a grocery store treat, offer to buy it for them as long as they pay you back from their allowance in a timely manner. If you need a refresher, tools like Capital One’s Credit Keeper can help you better understand your own credit score and the importance of that score to overall financial health.
How to build and follow a budget. This is where earning, spending, saving and sharing all come together. Build a budget that is realistic based on your income and spending needs and take advantage of banking apps to keep tabs on your spending in real-time. Have your kids think about how they might split their allowance into saving, spending and giving back to help them better understand money management.

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20 Percent Of Americans In Relationships Are Committing Financial Infidelity

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Nearly 30 million Americans are hiding a checking, savings, or credit card account from their spouse or live in partner, according to a new survey from CreditCards.com. That’s roughly 1 in 5 that currently have a live in partner or a spouse.

Around 5 million people — or 3 percent — used to commit “financial infidelity,” but no longer do.

Of all the respondents, millennials were more likely than other age groups to hide financial information from their partner. While 15 percent of older generations hid accounts from their partner, 28 percent of millennials were financially dishonest.

Regionally, Americans living in the South and the West were more likely to financially “cheat” than those living in the Northeast and Midwest.

Insecurity about earning and spending could drive some of this infidelity, according to CreditCards.com industry analyst Ted Rossman.

When it comes to millennials, witnessing divorce could have caused those aged 18-37 to try and squirrel away from Rossman calls a “freedom fund”.

“They’ve got this safety net,” Rossman said. They’re asking: “What if this relationship doesn’t work out?”

As bad as physical infidelity

More than half (55 percent) of those surveyed believed that financial infidelity was just as bad as physically cheating. That’s including some 20 percent who believed that financially cheating was worse.

But despite this, most didn’t find this to be a deal breaker.

Over 80 percent surveyed said they would be upset, but wouldn’t end the relationship. Only 2 percent of those asked would end the relationship if they discovered their spouse or partner was hiding $5,000 or more in credit card debt. That number however is highest among those lower middle class households ($30,000-$49,999 income bracket): Nearly 10 percent would break things off as a result.

Roughly 15 percent said they wouldn’t care at all. Studies do show however that money troubles is the leading cause of stress in a relationship.

That’s why, Rossman says, it’s important to share that information with your partner.

“Talking about money with your spouse isn’t always easy, but it has to be done,” he said. “You can still maintain some privacy over your finances, and even keep separate accounts if you and your spouse agree, but you need to get on the same page regarding your general direction, otherwise your financial union is doomed to fail.”

With credit card rates hovering at an average of 19.24 percent APR, hiding financial information from a partner could be financially devastating.

But, Rossman adds, it’s not just about the economic impact but also the erosion of trust.

“More than the dollars and cents is that trust factor,” he said. “I think losing that trust is so hard to regain. That could be a long lasting wedge.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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7 Examples Of Terrible Financial Advice We’ve Heard

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Between television, radio, the internet and well-meaning but presumptuous friends and family, we’re inundated with unsolicited advice on a daily basis. And when it comes to money, there’s a ton of terrible advice out there. Even so-called experts can lead us astray sometimes.

Have you been duped? Here are a few examples of the worst money advice advisers, bloggers and other personal finance pros have heard.

1. Carry a balance to increase your credit score.

Ben Luthi, a money and travel writer, said that a friend once told him that his mortgage loan officer advised him to carry a balance on his credit card in order to improve his credit score. In fact, the loan officer recommended keeping the balance at around 50 percent of his credit limit.

“This is the absolute worst financial advice I’ve ever heard for several reasons,” Luthi said. For one, carrying a credit card balance doesn’t have any effect on your credit at all. “What it does do is ensure that you pay a high interest rate on your balance every month, neutralizing any other benefits you might get from the card,” Luthi explained. “Also, keeping a 50 percent credit utilization is a surefire way to hurt your credit score, not help it.”

Some credit experts recommend keeping your balance below 30 percent of the card limit, but even that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Keeping your balance as low as possible and paying the bill on time each month is how you improve your score.

2. Avoid credit cards ― period.

Credit cards can be a slippery slope for some people; overspending can lead to a cycle of debt that’s tough to escape.

But avoiding credit cards on principle, something personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey push hard, robs you of all their potential benefits.

“Credit cards are a good tool for building credit and earning rewards,” explained personal finance writer Kim Porter. “Plus, there are lots of ways to avoid debt, like using the card only for monthly bills, paying off the card every month and tracking your spending.”

If you struggle with debt, a credit card is probably not for you. At least not right now. But if you are on top of your finances and want to leverage debt in a strategic way, a credit card can help you do just that.

3. The mortgage you’re approved for is what you can afford.

“The worst financial advice I hear is to buy as much house as you can afford,” said R.J. Weiss, a certified financial planner who founded the blog The Ways to Wealth. He explained that most lenders use the 28/36 rule to determine how much you can afford to borrow: Up to 28 percent of your monthly gross income can go toward your home, as long as the payments don’t exceed 36 percent of your total monthly debt payments. For example, if you had a credit card, student loan and car loan payment that together totaled $640 a month, your mortgage payment should be no more than $360 (36 percent of $1,000 in total debt payments).

“What homeowners don’t realize is this rule was invented by banks to maximize their bottom line ― not the homeowner’s financial well-being,” Weiss said. “Banks have figured out that this is the largest amount of debt one can take on with a reasonable chance of paying it back, even if that means you have to forego saving for retirement, college or short-term goals.”

4. An expensive house is worth it because of the tax write-off.

Scott Vance, owner of taxvanta.com, said a real estate agent told him when he was younger that it made sense to buy a more expensive house because he had the advantage of writing off the mortgage interest on his taxes.

But let’s stop and think about that for a moment. A deduction simply decreases your taxable income ― it’s not a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill. So committing to a larger mortgage payment to take a bigger tax deduction still means paying more in the long run. And if that high mortgage payment compromises your ability to keep up on other bills or save money, it’s definitely not worth it.

“Now, as a financial planner focusing on taxes, I see the folly in such advice,” he said, noting that he always advises his client to consider the source of advice before following it. ”Taking tax advice from a Realtor is … like taking medical procedure advice from your hairdresser.”

5. You need a six-month emergency fund.

One thing is true: You need an emergency fund. But when it comes to how much you should save in that fund, it’s different for each person. There’s no cookie-cutter answer that applies to everyone. And yet many experts claim that six months’ worth of expenses is exactly how much you should have socked away in a savings account.

“I work with a lot of Hollywood actors, and six months won’t cut it for these folks,” said Eric D. Matthews, CEO and wealth adviser at EDM Capital. “I also work with executives in the same industry where six months is overkill. You need to strike a balance for your work, industry and craft.”

If you have too little saved, a major financial blow can leave you in debt regardless. And if you set aside too much, you lose returns by leaving the money in a liquid, low-interest savings account. “The generic six months is a nice catch-all, but nowhere near the specific need of the individual’s unique situation… and aren’t we all unique?”

6. You should accept your entire student loan package.

Aside from a house, a college education is often one of the biggest purchases people make in their lifetimes. Often loans are needed to bridge the gap between college savings and that final tuition bill. But just because you’re offered a certain amount doesn’t mean you need to take it all.

“The worst financial advice I received was that I had to accept my entire student loan package and that I had no other options,” said Gina Zakaria, founder of The Frugal Convert. “It cost me a lot in student loan debt. Now I tell everyone that you never have to accept any part of a college financial package that you don’t want to accept.” There are always other options, she said.

7. Only invest in what you know.

Even the great Warren Buffett, considered by many to be the best investor of all time, gets it wrong sometimes. One of his most famous pieces of advice is to only invest in what you know, but that might not be the right guidance for the average investor.

In theory, it makes sense. After all, you don’t want to tie up your money in overly complicated investments you don’t understand. The problem is, most of us are not business experts, and it’s nearly impossible to have deep knowledge of hundreds of securities. “Diversification is key to a good portfolio, and investing in what you know leads to a very un-diversified portfolio,” said Britton Gregory, a certified financial planner and principal of Seaborn Financial. “Instead, invest in a well-diversified portfolio that includes many companies, even ones you’ve never heard of.”

That might mean enlisting the help of a professional, so make sure it’s one who has your best interests at heart.

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