On Wall Street: A day of no reprieve
NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A punishing sell-off on Wall Street went to a second day Thursday as investors rejected a U.S. Federal Reserve stimulus measure.
The Fed's announcement that it would begin an operation twist, exchanging $400 billion in short-term securities for an equal amount of long-term bonds, sent shivers through markets Wednesday afternoon. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 240 points between the afternoon announcement and the close of trading.
As markets opened in Asia Thursday, the hemorrhaging continued. Markets gave up 4 percent in Hong Kong and India and 2.7 percent in China. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 2.6 percent.
In Europe, stocks were off more than 4 percent in Sweden, Italy and Germany and off more than 5 percent in France and Belgium.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the DJIA shed 391.01 points or 3.51 percent to 10,733.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 37.20 points or 3.19 percent to 1,129.56. The Nasdaq composite index lost 82.52 points or 3.25 percent to 2,455.67.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 343 stocks advanced and 2,750 declined on a volume of 6.7 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury rose 1 11/32 to yield 1.721 percent.
The euro fell to $1.3469 from Wednesday's $1.3572. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 76.24 yen from Wednesday's 76.44 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 2.07 percent, 180.90, to 8,560.26.
In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 4.67 percent, 246.80, to 5,041.61.
Overnight, the price of November contract West Texas Intermediate crude oil priced in New York dropped 4 percent to $81.13 per barrel. The price of gold plummeted, listed as dropping $82.70 to $1,725.40 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman to lead HP
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. computer giant Hewlett Packard confirmed Thursday former eBay Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman will be HP's next president and CEO.
Whitman, a Republican who lost California's 2010 gubernatorial election to Democrat Jerry Brown after she left eBay, will replace Leo Apotheker, who served as HP CEO for less than 11 months.
The shift to Whitman is effective immediately, Hewlett Packard said.
In the same announcement, HP said Ray Lane would move from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the board of directors.
"I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters. It matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world," Whitman said.
Lane called Whitman "a technology visionary with a proven track record."
A political observer said there was "delicious irony" in the selection.
Whitman did not get along with former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, a fellow Republican who also ran an unsuccessful statewide election campaign last year.
Fiorina tried to unseat U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, and came up short.
"I do love the delicious irony that she would be sitting at the desk once occupied by Carly Fiorina, given the fact that they'd never wanted to be on the same stage at the same time," said John Fleischman, publisher of Flashreport.org.
Wade Randlett, a California fundraiser for President Barack Obama, put his own spin on the situation.
"HP was a great company run by a terrible CEO," Randlett said, referring to Fiorina. "And eBay is a great company that Meg did a great job with. So it's an opportunity for Whitman, as well as HP, to put a little polish back on their respective reputations," he said.
Target Corp. bonanza gets botched
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. retail giant Target Corp. is watching a major sales coup crumble into a potential fiasco, a retail analyst said.
Target's coup was to offer merchandise from Italian designer Missoni -- famous zigzag patterns -- with a sale that went so well the store's Web site crashed, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.
That was over a week ago. Now, some customers are finding delivery on some products delayed and others are finding orders canceled.
The backlash on the Internet has been fierce. "The BP oil spill of fashion," one posting on Facebook said.
Some consumers are calling for a boycott of Target stores. Others are saying they will boycott Target themselves.
"The lessons here are to plan and forecast these events very carefully, and not go for the big bang," said Brian Walker, an industry analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
"The big bang may be great to generate market hype and buzz, but can be a nightmare in serving customers, both online and offline." Walker said.
Target said in a statement that "unprecedented demand," caused the Web site to crash.
"This demand impacted our Target.com site and affected the shipment and delivery of select guest orders," the company said.
Another retail analyst, however, figured the mess would go down as an event in which there is no such thing as bad publicity.
"This isn't so horrible," said Mike Tesler, president of a consulting firm, Retail Concepts.
"In spite of what the geeks and techies are saying, I think it's a good thing for Target," Tesler said.
Facebook tweak needed, CEO says
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said the U.S. Internet giant was launching a feature called Timeline to upgrade users' profile pages.
"It's the story of your life," Zuckerberg said at a Facebook developer conference, referring to the new layout that is designed to make it easier to view and organize the profile pages where users post information about themselves, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Timeline allows users to store content in three sections: photos, events and applications, the Times said.
Zuckerberg said changes were needed due to the company's fast growth. He noted that Facebook last week broke a company record by having a half-billion users in a single day.
Facebook also said it would make changes to the Open Graph feature.
One of the changes will create links to applications a friend might be using, so the friends can, for example, listen to a song at the same time.