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S&P 500, Dow on track for worst week in two years


REUTERS

S&P 500, Dow on track for worst week in two years

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Wall Street extended losses on Friday after a round of weak earnings and on the back of robust payrolls data that sent bond yields higher, vexing all three major US stock indexes.

The S&P 500 and the Dow are both on track for their biggest one-week declines in more than two years. The Nasdaq is headed toward its worst week since November 2016.

“It’s all about the bond market, the bond market is calling the tune for stocks and has been all week. We’ve seen a very large back-up in yields and that’s giving investors reasons to sell equities,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston.

The better-than-expected January employment report showed a surge in job growth and the largest wage gain in more than 8-1/2 years, fuelling expectations that rising inflation will prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates more aggressively this year.

“The bond market sold off and the expectation is three maybe four rate hikes this year in light of the jobs report,” said Nolte.

At 2:13 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 472.36 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 25,714.35, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 42.99 points, or 1.52 per cent, to 2,778.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 97.17 points, or 1.32 per cent, to 7,288.70.

All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 were in negative territory. Technology was the biggest drag, down 2.3 per cent, led by Microsoft.

The Cboe Volatility index, the closely watched gauge of investor anxiety, jumped to 15.56, its highest level since August 18.

Analysts now see fourth-quarter earnings growth of 13.6 per cent for the S&P 500, up from 12 per cent on January 1. Half of the index’s companies have reported, 78 per cent of which beat Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp shares were down 5.6 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively, after the oil companies posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit.

Alphabet fell 5.0 per cent after the Google parent’s fourth-quarter profit came in below consensus on increased spending.

Apple shares were off by 3.5 per cent as investors worried about the iPhone maker’s weak outlook amid reports of scaled back iPhone X production.

Amazon.com was a bright spot, up 4.5 per cent as Wall Street analysts quickly upped their price targets following the online retailer’s impressive earnings report.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 7.70-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.90-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 18 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 48 new highs and 103 new lows. (Reuters)

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