US tech stocks slump and volatility spikes as bond yields surge

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Wall Street stocks stumbled on Thursday as US Treasury yields continued their ascent to multi-year highs on the latest round of strong economic data, building concerns for an acceleration of inflation.

The Dow suffered its first decline in six sessions, while both the S&P and Nasdaq had their worst day since June 25.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed to a seven-year high of 3.232 per cent, marking its largest daily jump since the 2016 US presidential election.

Data on jobless claims and factory orders were the latest in around of strong economic reports this week, putting the focus squarely on Friday’s payrolls report for September.

“The follow-through on the Treasury rates today, actually the follow-through worldwide on Treasuries, has a big part to do with this,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

“And just in general, so many of these sectors have been so hot it may be time to take a little break,” he added.

Financials were one of the few bright spots on Wall Street, rising 0.71 per cent. Banks, which typically benefit from rising rates, gained 0.81 per cent.

Thursday’s data, which showed jobless claims fell to a near 49-year low, followed comments this week from several Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, that underscored the strength of the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 200.91 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 26,627.48, the S&P 500 lost 23.9 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 2,901.61 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 145.58 points, or 1.81 per cent, to 7,879.51. Equities have struggled over the past year when interest rates climbed faster than investors were anticipating.

Among the biggest drags on the S&P were the so-called FANG group of stocks, which were among shares that helped propel the Nasdaq to its recent record high. Google parent Alphabet Inc sank 2.8 per cent and Netflix Inc slumped 3.6 per cent.

Apple Inc lost 1.76 per cent, and Amazon.com Inc, shed 2.22 per cent. Both companies denied a Bloomberg report their systems had been infiltrated by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence.

“Investors are concerned. Are more parts of the global technology supply chain hacked?” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Market participants will be looking closely for signs of wage growth in Friday’s jobs number, especially in light of anecdotal indications of rising wages such as Amazon’s raising its minimum wage to $15 earlier this week.

Despite the pullback, US stocks remain near record levels, raising some concern about valuations with the quarterly earnings reporting season about to begin.

Among gainers, Constellation Brands rose 5.38 per cent after the Corona beer maker raised its full-year profit forecast and topped Wall Street’s estimates for second-quarter sales and profit.

Eli Lilly shares gained 4.02 per cent after the company’s experimental diabetes drug showed promise in a mid-stage trial.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.98-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.55-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.There were 831 stocks hitting new 52-week lows across all U.S. exchanges, the most since stocks were beginning to pull out of correction territory on February 9, versus 92 new 52-week highs.

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Contributors to this article may own shares in some of the companies mentioned in this article. The Capital Club has a thorough disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
Lauren Surplice is a keen follower of the stock market, investing in individual companies and funds. She follows the daily stock market news, covering the ASX stocks that are moving the markets. You can contact Lauren at laurens@thecapitalclub.com.au