Market Minute: Markets Swoon on Threat of Higher Interest Rates

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke
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Markets around the world are skittish after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warned the central bank could begin winding down its bond buying program later this year. That has added uncertainty that's likely to weigh on the market Thursday morning. Pressure is also coming from a 7 percent sell-off in Japanese stocks, and a contraction in China's manufacturing activity.

The Dow industrials (^DJI) fell 80 points Wednesday on the Fed news. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) lost 13 points and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) dropped 38.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is already the best performing Dow stock so far this year, and it's set to soar again today. The tech giant reported an earnings decline of 32 percent, but that beat expectations, and the company raised its outlook for the current quarter.

It's a similar story for the teen retailer Pacific Sunwear (PSUN). Its shares have soared 84 percent this year, and there's more room to run today. The company's loss widened last quarter, but it issued an upbeat outlook for this one.

Struggling retailer J.C. Penney (JCP) has secured a loan for $2.25 billion to fund its planned expansion. That's $500 million more than expected.

Pfizer (PFE) plans to spin off to shareholders its majority stake in Zoetis (ZTS). Earlier this year, Pfizer sold about 20 percent of the animal health company in an IPO that raised $2 billion.

Merck's (MRK) new drug to treat insomnia has received the backing of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. It said the product was effective and safe enough at lower dosage levels.

Chinese regulators have given airlines there the go-ahead to begin flying Boeing's (BA) 787 Dreamliner. Chinese airlines have ordered 35 Dreamliners, although none have yet been delivered.

And Tesla Motors (TSLA) has repaid the government's $465 million -- nine years ahead of schedule. Tesla has been high-flying stock this year, but an analyst at Seeking Alpha warns that bigger competitors "are already catching up."

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg

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