Stock market has worst one-day drop since February

For investors, there were few havens on Thursday.

The stock market had its worst one-day drop since February, driven down by a confluence of worries, from weak company earnings to the looming end of stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

But it wasn’t just stocks that suffered; oil fell to its lowest level since March, gold dropped and even Treasury notes edged lower.

Stocks started the day lower after a dose of bad earnings news, and the losses accelerated throughout the day.

SeaWorld and Southwest Airlines ending partnership

SeaWorld and Southwest Airlines are ending their quarter-century partnership. Here’s the joint statement from Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld:

The companies decided not to renew the contract based on shifting priorities. Southwest is spreading its wings with new international service, and increased focus on local market efforts. With an increasing international visitor base, SeaWorld is looking to focus on new and growing markets in Latin America and Asia, among others.

The companies will continue to work together through Southwest Vacations. Southwest’s three specialty airplanes will return to the company’s traditional livery.

The statement makes no mention of the pressure applied on Southwest Airlines by animal rights’ activists who wanted the carrier to cut off its partnership with SeaWorld.

Whole Foods stock falls, sales forecast lowered

After a series of disappointing earnings reports, executives for Whole Foods Market hoped Wednesday’s quarterly numbers would win back favor from investors.

But while the Austin, Texas-based natural foods grocer did beat some Wall Street expectations for its fiscal third quarter, the company also missed on its same-store sales projections and lowered its sales forecast for the rest of the year.

The combination sent Whole Foods’ stock downward in after-hours trading. Shares fell as much as 7 percent shortly after the earnings report, but the stock stabilized closer to the $37.94 mark, down $1.17, or 3 percent from Wednesday’s close.

Nationwide averages for 30-year, 15-year loans slip

Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year loan slipped to 4.12 percent from 4.13 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, declined to 3.23 percent from 3.26 percent last week.

Mortgage rates are below the levels of a year ago. They have fallen in recent weeks after climbing last summer when the Federal Reserve began talking about reducing the monthly bond purchases it was making to keep long-term rates low.

— From news service reports

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