Stocks end tough January with another decline; S&P 500 index down 4 pct for month

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Wal-Mart's forecast echo the comments from Macy's, Target, Best Buy and other retailers.

Of the companies who have reported so far, 44 companies have cut their full-year profit outlooks while 10 have increased their outlooks, according to data from FactSet.

Adding to concerns about the U.S. economy and earnings were problems in overseas markets.

The bad news started with China. A recent report showed manufacturing activity in the world's second-largest economy unexpectedly contracted in January. The report added to other recent signs that the Chinese economy was slowing down after years of massive growth.

Then came currency troubles in smaller emerging markets, particularly Turkey, South Africa and Argentina.

All three saw their currencies fall sharply against the dollar, as investors began to pull out of emerging markets and return their money to less-risky parts of the globe.

"These governments were financing themselves with (foreign investor money), and now that these investors are looking to go home, there's no source of money to replace them," said Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Oppenheimer Funds.

On Friday, the U.S. stock market closed out January on yet another down note. The Dow fell 149.70 points, or 0.9 percent, to 15,698.91. The S&P 500 dropped 11.61 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,782.57 and the Nasdaq lost 19.25 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,103.88.

Investors shouldn't panic yet, money managers say.

They will get the January jobs report next week. Also, another 93 members of the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings.

"A 5 percent decline in equities is not an earthshattering event by any measure, particularly after last year," Memani said. "It's still way too early to give up on equities."

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AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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