Tech stocks pull market sharply lower, erasing early gains

Posted at 10:19 AM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 12:48:50-04


AP Business Writer

A steep, late-afternoon sell-off in technology companies pulled U.S. stocks sharply lower Tuesday, erasing modest gains from earlier in the day. Banks also weighed on the market as bond yields declined. Safe-play stocks like utilities and real estate companies were holding up best. The market is coming off its best day in more than two years following a steep slide last week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 56 points, or 2.1 percent, to 2,601 as of 3:48 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 445 points, or 1.9 percent, to 23,747. It jumped 669 points a day earlier. The Nasdaq slid 215 points, or 3 percent, to 7,005. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 24 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,519.

THE QUOTE: "We did have such a strong advance yesterday, it would naturally attract some profit-taking in the short term," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. "But investors are not willing to believe unquestionably that the worst is behind us and are willing to be a bit more cautious and take a wait-and-see attitude as to whether this is more than simply an oversold reflex rally."

TECH WOES: Technology companies, which were big decliners last week and led Monday's market rally, racked up more losses Tuesday. Nvidia fell more than any other stock in the S&P 500, tumbling $22.28, or 9.1 percent, to $222.20. Microsoft, which the biggest gainer on Monday, gave up $3.91, or 4.2 percent, to $89.87.

TWEET THIS: Shares in Twitter slumped 11.6 percent after Citron Research said it is shorting the social media portal, citing Twitter's reliance on licensing its users' data. The remarks come ahead of a Senate hearing on data privacy set for next month. The stock gave up $3.72 to $28.19. Facebook, whose shares have been hard hit recently amid heightened government scrutiny into the social media giant's collection of private user data, also declined, sliding another $8.01, or 5 percent, to $152.05. Facebook has lost 20 percent of its value since hitting a record high February 1.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Tesla sank 8.4 percent on news that the National Transportation Safety Board has sent two investigators to look into a fatal crash and fire Friday in California that involved a Tesla electric SUV. The agency said on Twitter that it's not clear whether the Tesla Model X was operating on its semi-autonomous control system called Autopilot at the time. The stock lost $25.26 to $278.62.

PHARMA DEAL: U.S.-listed shares of British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline rose 2.6 percent after the company agreed to buy out its Swiss partner Novartis in their consumer health joint venture for $13 billion in cash. GlaxoSmithKline gained 97 cents to $38.40.

ECONOMIC SNAPSHOTS: The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slipped to 127.7 this month, down from 130 in February, which was the highest reading since November 2000. The business research group's index measures consumers' assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Separately, the latest Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index shows prices jumped 6.2 percent in January from a year earlier, pushed higher by a persistent shortage of homes for sale.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude declined 30 cents to settle at $65.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped a penny to close at $70.11. In other energy futures trading, heating oil dropped 1 cent to $2.02 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $2.01 a gallon. Natural gas rose 7 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold fell $13, or 1 percent, to $1,342 an ounce. Silver dropped 14 cents to $16.54 an ounce. Copper gained 3 cents to $3 a pound.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.78 percent from 2.85 percent late Monday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 105.54 yen from 105.22 yen on Monday. The euro fell to $1.2402 from $1.2455.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 1.6 percent, while France's CAC 40 gained 1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares added 1.6 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 2.7 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.7 percent. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.8 percent.

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