Fed worries sink the stock market
NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter popped, but the rest of the market dropped.
Twitter wowed investors with a 73 percent surge on its first day of trading Thursday. The broader market, however, had its worst day since August as traders worried that the Federal Reserve could cut back on its economic stimulus.
The cause of that worry was a surprisingly strong report on U.S. economic growth in the third quarter. That led investors to believe the Fed could start pulling back as soon as next month, sooner than many anticipated.
After 33 record-high closes this year, an increasing number of investors believe the stock market has become frothy and is ready for a pullback. The first-day surge in Twitter, a company that has never made a profit, was the latest example.
“The market had rallied a heck of a lot and to justify further gains, we really need to see the economy improving or corporate earnings picking up,” said Alec Young, global equity strategist with S&P Capital IQ.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 23.34 points, 1.3 percent, to 1,747.15. Even after Thursday’s drop, the index is still up 22.5 percent this year. The last time the benchmark index had a bigger gain for a whole year was in 2009.
The Dow Jones industrial average retreated from the record high it set the day before, giving up 152.90 points, or 1 percent, to close at 15,593.98.
Bus, truck safety oversight faulted
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal accident investigators called on Thursday for a probe of the government agency charged with ensuring the safety of commercial vehicles, saying their own look into four tour bus and truck crashes that killed 25 people raises “serious questions” about how well the agency is doing its job.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspectors failed to respond to red flags indicating significant safety problems on the part of bus and truck companies involved in accidents in California, Oregon, Kentucky and Tennessee, documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board said. Besides those killed, 83 other people were injured in the crashes, many of them seriously.
The motor carrier administration needs to crack down on bad actors “before crashes occur, not just after high visibility events,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman.
In one crash, federal inspectors gave a California tour bus company safety clearance a month before one of the company’s buses overturned near San Bernardino last February while returning from a ski resort.
Seven passengers and a pickup truck driver were killed, 11 passengers were seriously injured and 22 others received minor to moderate injuries. The bus driver told passengers the bus’ brakes had failed.
Federal inspectors didn’t ask to examine Scapadas Magicas’ buses during their visit to the company’s headquarters near San Diego even though the company’s buses had been cited previously for a host of mechanical problems during spot roadside inspections.
Most booster seats ranked high
DETROIT (AP) — More than half of child booster seats that went on sale this year earned a top rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The institute, which is funded by insurers, ranked 31 new models. Nineteen earned the top rating of “best bet,” which means they correctly position a 4- to 8-year-old child to use the regular shoulder and lap belts in almost any car.
Britax, Evenflo, Ferrari, Graco, Harmony, Recaro and Safety 1st all had seats on the institute’s “best bet” list. Both booster seats with high backs and those without backs performed well.
One seat — the Ferrari Beline SP — got a “good bet” rating when used in its high-back mode. That means the fit is acceptable in most vehicles. Eleven seats got a “check fit” rating, which means the seats may provide a good fit in some vehicles but parents should make sure.
A belt fits correctly when the lap portion lies flat across the child’s upper thighs and the shoulder portion crosses snugly over the middle of the shoulder.
The institute said children in booster seats are much more likely to escape serious injury in a crash than those without boosters. Children should use boosters until they’re big enough for adult belts to fit properly.
The cheapest “best bet” was the Graco Connext backless seat, which costs $18. The most expensive, the Ferrari Beline SP, which has both high-back and backless modes, is $300.
The institute said seats have made big improvements since it began testing them five years ago.
In all, there are 58 seats ranked on its website, including seats that weren’t new in 2013. The group tested the boosters based on how they positioned a child-sized test dummy to use a car’s seat belts.
There are only two booster seats the institute warns people not to buy: The Safety 1st All-In-One and Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite. Both are made by Dorel Juvenile Group, which has several other seats on the “best bet” list.