The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 800 points, its worst drop in eight months, led by sharp declines in technology stocks.
The sharp sell-off was even starker at the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange, home to Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and others. The Nasdaq fell over 4%. Wednesday marked the fifth consecutive daily decline for the S&P 500, the longest losing streak since November 2016.
Just a week ago stock markets set another record high, a fact that was trumpeted by Donald Trump.
The Stock Market just reached an All-Time High during my Administration for the 102nd Time, a presidential record, by far, for less than two years. So much potential as Trade and Military Deals are completed.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
But after years of growth, investors appear to be spooked by rising bond yields that have been drawing some out of the stock market. Fears of further falls led others to sell their holdings. The best-performing stocks over the past year – which include the so-called Faang companies of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google – took some of the biggest losses Wednesday. Amazon lost 6.2% and Netflix gave back 8.4%.
Fears of escalating tensions with China over trade also contributed to the fall. On Monday the International Monetary Fund warned that the US’s increasingly protectionist trade policies would hit global growth.
Trump blamed the slide on the policies of the Fed, which has raised rates three times this year. In comments before a rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the president said: “I think the Fed has gone crazy.”
Investors in Asia Pacific were braced for heavy losses when trading begins in the region on Thursday. The benchmark ASX200 index was down 123 points, or 2%, in early tarde in Sydney. The Nikkei in Tokyo was expected to open down 3%. market was expected to fall 3%.
Gina Martin Adams, the chief equity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence, said investors are concerned about the big increase in bond yields, which makes it more expensive to borrow money. She said they also fear that company profit margins will be squeezed by rising costs, including the price of oil.
Insurance companies also dropped as Hurricane Michael continued to gather strength and came ashore in Florida bringing winds of up to 155mph. Berkshire Hathaway dipped 4.1% to $214.64 and reinsurer Everest Re slid 4.6% to $218.97.
The biggest driver for the market over the last week has been interest rates, which began spurting higher following several encouraging reports on the economy. Higher rates can slow economic growth, erode corporate profits and make investors less willing to pay high prices for stocks.
“It’s a bit of a blood bath,” said Ed Campbell, senior portfolio manager at QMA, the asset management branch of Prudential Financial. “It’s primarily the cumulative effect of interest rate moves over the past five days and news reports about trade impacting companies.”
The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 3.22% from 3.20% late Tuesday after earlier touching 3.24%. It was at just 3.05% early last week.
Technology and internet-based companies are known for their high profit margins, and many have reported explosive growth in recent years, with corresponding gains in their stock prices. Adams, of Bloomberg Intelligence, said investors have concerns about their future profitability, too.
That has helped make technology stocks more volatile in the last few months.
“As stocks go up, tech goes up more than the stock market. As stocks go down, tech goes down more than the stock market,” she said.
This article provided by NewsEdge.