Stocks sell-off sparked by shaky economies abroad

Shaky economies and plunging currencies in the developing world are fueling a global sell-off in stocks.

Fearful investors on Monday pushed prices lower across Asia and Europe, though many of the drops weren’t as steep as last week. In the U.S. and in other rich countries, where economies are healthier, investors also retreated, but the selling was not as fierce.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 41.23 points, or 0.26 percent, to 15,837.88. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 8.73 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,781.56. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down the most, falling 44.56 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,083.61.

The selling started in Asia, with major indexes in both Hong Kong and Tokyo down more than 2 percent, then spread to Europe and the U.S., as stocks slipped across the board, though much less than feared given the big declines on Friday.

New home sales in 2103 highest in five years

U.S. sales of new homes fell in December for a second consecutive month but even with the pause at the end of the year, sales for all of 2013 climbed to the highest level in five years.

Sales of new homes dropped 7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, the Commerce Department reported Monday. In November, sales had fallen 3.9 percent. For the whole year, sales were up 16.4 percent to 428,000, the highest level since 2008.

Apple’s holiday season, revenue forecast disappoint

Apple’s holiday season proved to be a disappointment even though the company sold a record number of iPhones and iPads during its latest quarter. The fiscal first-quarter earnings released Monday topped analyst projections, but Apple sold fewer iPhones than Wall Street had been anticipating. Management also forecast revenue for the current quarter that fell below analysts’ predictions. Those letdowns caused Apple’s stock to shed $41.62, or more than 7.5 percent, to $508.88 in extended trading after the release of results.

The company sold 51 million iPhones during the three months ending Dec. 28. But analysts had predicted about 55 million iPhones in what is traditionally the company’s best quarter.

– From news service reports