Wall Street stocks slum as tech, energy, retail sectors weaken

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the benchmark S&P 500 index are down more than 10 percent. Photograph:( Others )

AFP New York, NY, USA Nov 21, 2018, 08.56 AM (IST)

Wall Street stocks suffered a second consecutive battering on Tuesday, with weakness in the technology sector spreading to other areas, especially energy and retail.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 2.2 per cent, or more than 550 points, to finish at 24,465.64, wiping out its gains for the year and then some.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 1.8 per cent to 2,641.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.7 per cent to 6,908.82. 

After Tuesday, the Nasdaq was the only one of the three indices still clinging to a modest gain for the year, but stood at its lowest levels in more than seven months. 

"Today was again a big sell-off," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "Investors are repricing stocks."

Analysts have blamed the weakness on worries about slowing global growth exacerbated by a series of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes and the burgeoning US-China trade dispute. 

Some market watchers have said the fall has been exacerbated by light trading volumes this week ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving holidays when markets will be closed.

Most large technology companies dropped again, including Apple and Microsoft, which shed 4.8 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively. Amazon and Netflix fell more modestly, while Google parent Alphabet and Facebook advanced modestly in apparent bargain hunting.

Petroleum-linked shares were another weak segment, with Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron plunging nearly three per cent and Apache shedding 5.1 per cent.

The losses came after benchmark US oil prices slid 6.6 per cent to $53.43 per barrel, the lowest level in more than a year, amid worries over excess supply.

Leading retailers mostly fell following mixed earnings reports, with Target dropping 10.5 per cent, Lowe's 5.7 per cent and Kohl's 9.2 per cent. An exception was Best Buy, which advanced 2.2 per cent.

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Some market watchers have said the fall has been exacerbated by light trading volumes this week ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving holidays.