US stocks swoon, sending Dow down more than 650 points
U.S. stocks slumped Friday, and the market suffered its worst week in two years, as fears of inflation and disappointing quarterly results from technology and energy giants spooked investors. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped by more than 650 points.
Bond yields rose and contributed to the stock market swoon after the government reported that wages grew last month at the fastest pace in eight years. The Dow had its worst decline since June 2016, while the broader Standard &Poor’s 500 index had its biggest one-day percentage drop since September 2016.
“We’ve enjoyed low interest rates for so long, we’re having to deal with a little bit higher rates now, so the market is trying to figure out what that could mean for inflation,” said Darrell Cronk, head of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
The increase in bond yields hurts stocks in two ways: it makes it more expensive for companies to borrow money, and it also makes bonds more appealing to investors than riskier assets such as stocks.
Several major companies, including Exxon Mobil and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, sank after reporting weak earnings. Apple fell on concerns about iPhone sales.
Judge admonishes victims’ dad who charged at Nassar in court
CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A distraught father seething over sexual abuse suffered by three daughters tried to attack former sports doctor Larry Nassar in a Michigan courtroom Friday after a judge rejected his request to confront the “demon” in a locked room, a stunning rush that reflected the anguish felt by parents who trusted him with their children.
Randall Margraves was blocked by an attorney, tackled by sheriff’s deputies and hauled out of court. He later apologized, saying he had lost control. Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham said there was “no way” she would fine him or send him to jail under her contempt-of-court powers.
“I don’t know what it would be like to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by somebody sitting in a courtroom. I can’t imagine that,” the judge said.
Nonetheless, she added, it is “not acceptable that we combat assault with assault.”
The incident occurred during the third and final sentencing hearing for Nassar, who has admitted to sexually assaulting girls under the guise of medical treatment. This case focuses on his work at Twistars, an elite gymnastics club southwest of Lansing.
Trump nuclear doctrine takes tougher stance on Russia
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday announced it will continue much of the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons policy, but take a more aggressive stance toward Russia. It said Russia must be convinced it would face “unacceptably dire costs” if it were to threaten even a limited nuclear attack in Europe.
The sweeping review of U.S. nuclear policy does not call for any net increase in strategic nuclear weapons — a position that stands in contrast to President Donald Trump’s statement, in a tweet shortly before he took office, that the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In his State of the Union address Tuesday, he made no mention of expansion, though he said the arsenal must deter acts of aggression.
A 74-page report summarizing the review’s findings calls North Korea a “clear and grave threat” to the U.S. and its allies. It asserts that any North Korean nuclear attack against the U.S. or its allies will result in “the end of that regime.”
It also cast China as a potential nuclear adversary, saying the U.S. arsenal is tailored to “prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding” that it could gain advantage by using its nuclear weapons in Asia, or that “any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable.”
The Pentagon-led review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the policies that govern it was ordered by Trump a year ago. In a written statement, Trump said U.S. strategy is designed to make use of nuclear weapons less likely. In an apparent reference to the threat of catastrophic cyberattack, he said the U.S. aims to strengthen deterrence of major attacks against the U.S. and its allies, including those that “may not come in the form of nuclear weapons.”
Arizona man who sold ammo to Las Vegas shooter is charged
CHANDLER, Ariz. — An Arizona man who sold ammunition to the gunman who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history was charged Friday with manufacturing armor-piercing bullets, according to court documents.
Unfired armor-piercing bullets found inside the Las Vegas hotel room where Stephen Paddock launched the Oct. 1 attack had the fingerprints of ammunition dealer Douglas Haig, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Phoenix. It says Haig didn’t have a license to manufacture armor-piercing ammunition.
Haig has acknowledged selling 720 rounds of tracer ammunition to Paddock in the weeks before the shooting that killed 58 people. Tracer bullets contain a pyrotechnic charge that illuminates the path of fired bullets so shooters can see whether their aim is correct.
The criminal charge involves another type of ammunition — armor-piercing bullets.
The documents don’t say if any ammunition tied to Paddock was used in the attack. Las Vegas police wouldn’t say whether armor-piercing bullets were used in the shooting but referred to a preliminary report saying some rifle magazines were loaded with armor-piercing ammunition.
Calls for change grow amid capitol sexual misconduct claims
WASHINGTON — An Arizona lawmaker who repeatedly harassed women has become the first since the swell of the #MeToo movement to get kicked out of office by colleagues but likely will not be the last to face repercussions amid intensifying scrutiny of sexual misconduct in state legislatures.
The heightened focus on harassment and misconduct has led to growing calls for change in a year that already has seen an unusually large number of women expressing interest in running for office.
“This conduct perpetuates the good-old-boys culture all too familiar to women in workplaces across the nation,” said Ohio state Rep. Teresa Fedor, one of several female Democratic lawmakers who called this week for the resignation of Republican Rep. Bill Seitz because of offense remarks. “Women and men deserve better, not more of the same tired excuses. It’s time for a change.”
With his expulsion on Thursday, Arizona Rep. Don Shooter became the 15th state lawmaker to leave office since the start of 2017 (the others resigned) after being accused of sexual misconduct. About 20 others have faced lesser consequences, ranging from forced apologies to suspensions to the loss of powerful leadership posts, according to a state-by-state review by The Associated Press.
Sexual harassment investigations are ongoing against other state lawmakers, including in California, Hawaii, Kentucky and Oregon. On Friday, the Democratic leaders of the California Assembly and Senate released records that show four current lawmakers have faced such complaints since 2006, although none was formally disciplined. They include a 2017 allegation against a female lawmaker, Democratic Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, who later took responsibility for engaging in sexually charged banter.