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U.S. Stock Markets Open A Day After Dramatic Plunge


Stocks are down once again this morning. The Dow is off more than 200 points. This is after a dramatic sell-off yesterday. Stock prices had their worst drop since February with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing more than 3 percent of its value. And that sell-off rippled through international markets today, with stocks falling across Asia, and also across Europe. Let's bring in NPR's Jim Zarroli, who's in New York. Hi there, Jim.


GREENE: So how are the markets looking at this moment?

ZARROLI: Yeah, looks like another volatile day. I mean, we had a brief period where stocks were positive right after they opened, but now they're dropping again. If it continues, this will be the sixth straight day the S&P 500 is down. You know, it seems like the mood in the market has really changed. Investors are trying to come to grips with some of the big issues on the table.

GREENE: Yeah. What has changed? What are investors coming to grips with?

ZARROLI: Well, one of the important things is interest rates. The Fed has been raising rates for a while now. You have the central banks in Europe and Japan doing it as well. When that happens, it makes borrowing more expensive. But it also - when rates go up, bonds become more attractive, so people take money out of stocks and put it in bonds.

Also, this continuing trade tension with China - that's certainly a factor. You know, we have this new agreement with Canada and Mexico, but it doesn't even really look like - that, like, we're talking with China. So I think invest - a lot of American companies do business in China and will be affected by that. How badly we - they are affected, we should see in the next few weeks because this is the time of year when companies begin to say how they did in the third quarter. So we will learn more. But right now, I think a lot of investors are just nervous. They're seeing what's happening with our trade with China, and that's being reflected in the markets.

GREENE: You know, when the stocks are doing well, President Trump likes to point to it as some sort of indication of the economy. What does this say, or not say, about the state of the economy?

ZARROLI: Well, the stock market is not the economy, so you can have turbulence in the market even when the overall economy is doing well, which, certainly, is the message the president wants to send. He put out a statement yesterday after that big sell-off saying the fundamentals of the economy are, quote, "incredibly strong."

However, it's important to remember, you know, stock market investors are always looking ahead. So they can think that conditions are good right now but, you know, not be so sure about the future. And clearly, the markets are worried about interest rates and trade.

And the president is worried, too, because he, again, yesterday, criticized the Fed for raising interest rates. He said, I think that the Fed has gone crazy. Larry Kudlow, who directs the National Economic Council, tried to walk back some of the criticism today on CNBC. But the president clearly doesn't like what the Fed is doing.

GREENE: All right. NPR's Jim Zarroli giving us that update on the stocks and some of the context for the drop that we're seeing. He's in New York. Jim, thanks.

ZARROLI: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.