On Friday Wall Street’s main indexes extended losses as fears of a potential rise in inflation kept U.S. bond yields around one-year high, while tech stocks clawed back some losses. Shares of Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc edged up between 0.4% and 1%, but were headed for their worst week in months.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield eased to 1.478% after jumping 1.614% overnight, roiling stock markets. Wall Street’s fear gauge hovered at a one-month high. “If rates continue to move that quickly, the markets wouldn’t like that,” said Eric Diton, President and Managing Director at The Wealth Alliance in New York.
“I don’t see reasons for panic out there. This is simply a normal overdue pullback.” The major averages were knocked off their all-time highs last week after a sharp rise in U.S. Treasury yields triggered a selloff in some of the mega-cap technology stocks. Tech stocks are particularly sensitive to rising yields because their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when bond returns go up.
The Dow is poised for its best month since November 2020 as investors bought into cyclical companies set to benefit from an economic reopening, while the Nasdaq remains on track to wipe out nearly all of its gains for the month. Financials and energy shares, the best performing S&P sectors this month, slipped about 0.2% and 1%. Technology stocks rose 0.6% and semiconductor stocks advanced about 1%.
At 10:27 a.m. EST the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 388.66 points, or 1.24% , to 31,013.35, the S&P 500 lost 25.56 points, or 0.67 %, to 3,803.78 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 41.33 points, or 0.32 %, to 13,078.10. Latest data showed U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in January but price pressures remained muted.
Stimulus will be back in focus as the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives aims to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill on Friday in what would be the first major legislative victory of his presidency. GameStop Corp jumped 11% as retail investors pushed up the stock in a renewed rally that could see it clock its second best week.