Wall Street tumbles on tech selloff as bond yields climb

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes dropped on Thursday, with the Nasdaq on track for its worst day in four months, as technology-related stocks remained under pressure following a rise in U.S. bond yields.

FILE PHOTO: The Wall St. sign is seen outside The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 16, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yields hit a one-year high of 1.53%, prompting investors to lock in profits on some high-flying growth stocks due to concerns over heightened valuations. [US/]

The Treasury note yield also rose above S&P 500 dividend yield, wiping out historically strong advantage that the stock market yield has held.

Apple Inc, Inc, Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc were down between 1.9% and 2.9%.

“The concern is that we haven’t been in an environment of persistently rising inflation expectations so it creates this new dynamic for investors,” said Max Gokhman, head of asset allocation at Pacific Life Fund Advisors in Newport Beach, California.

“The market is stretched, a lot of forward growth expectations have been baked in and that’s creating some of the excuse to blow up steam for some investors who were a little too bullish.”

The S&P 500 technology sector and communication services, among the sectors that powered the market’s rally in 2020, were down 3.9% and 2.3%.

The S&P 500 growth index is nearly unchanged in February, sharply underperforming the value index, which has gained more than 7% on optimism related to a post-pandemic reopening of the economy.

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Meanwhile, data showed fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week amid falling COVID-19 infections, but the near-term outlook still remained unclear after winter storms wreaked havoc in the South region in the middle of this month.

Optimism about more U.S. stimulus and a quicker pace of vaccinations at the beginning of the month have positioned the the Dow Jones index for its best monthly gain since November.

However, the lack of significant new developments around the fiscal package and the winding down of the earnings season have caused uncertainty in the market.

“In the beginning of February, the stimulus news was the driving force but now that it has been priced in, there is nothing on the distant horizon for equity investors to be excited about and there is a concern that upside is limited,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management.

At 01:53 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 462.22 points, or 1.45%, to 31,499.64, the S&P 500 lost 81.40 points, or 2.07%, to 3,844.03 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 390.55 points, or 2.87%, to 13,207.42.

Tesla Inc fell 5.5% after a media report that the electric-car maker told workers it would temporarily halt some production at its car assembly plant in California.

Moderna Inc jumped 4.6% after the drugmaker said it was expecting to post $18.4 billion in sales from its COVID-19 vaccine this year.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 5.5-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 5.4-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

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The S&P 500 posted 70 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 252 new highs and 87 new lows.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Anil D’Silva and Maju Samuel

Source: Reuters

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