Nasdaq Posting Steep Loss As Jump In Treasury Yields Weighs On Tech Stocks
With another spike in treasury yields weighing on technology stocks, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has moved sharply lower in morning trading on Thursday. The S&P 500 has also moved to the downside, while the narrower Dow has edged higher.
The Nasdaq is currently off its worst levels but still down 196.74 points or 1.5 percent at 13,328.46. The S&P 500 is also down 20.36 points or 0.5 percent at 3,953.76 after ending the previous session at a record closing high.
Meanwhile, the Dow is up 84.76 points or 0.3 percent at 33,100.13, rising to a new record intraday high amid strong gains by financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS).
The steep drop by the Nasdaq comes as the continued surge in treasury yields has renewed concerns about the outlook for high-growth companies.
The yield on the benchmark ten-year note has jumped above 1.7 percent to reach its highest levels since last January, while the thirty-year bond yield has shot up to its highest levels since last summer.
Yields are skyrocketing despite yesterday’s assurances by the Federal Reserve that interest rates will remain at near-zero levels through 2023.
Analysts have attributed the jump in yields to concerns that the Fed’s apparent willingness to let inflation accelerate more than normal will reduce the appeal of bonds. Yields move in the opposite direction of bond prices.
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing an unexpected increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended March 13th.
The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 770,000, an increase of 45,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 725,000.
The rebound came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 700,000 from the 712,000 originally reported for the previous week.
However, the unexpected increase in jobless claims was partly due to jump in claims in Texas due to the impact of Winter Storm Uri.
A separate report released by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed its reading on regional manufacturing activity spiked to a nearly 50-year high in March.
Software stocks are turning in some of the market’s worst performances in morning trading, resulting in a 2.3 percent slump by the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index.
Semiconductor and computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable weakness, contributing to the steep drop by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
Notable weakness has also emerged among energy stocks, which are moving lower along with the price of crude oil. Crude for April delivery is plunging $2.29 to $62.31 a barrel.
Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Oil Index is down by 1.7 percent and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.6 percent.
Housing, gold and commercial estate stocks have also come under pressure, while banking stocks have moved sharply higher, driving the KBW Bank Index up by 2.6 percent to a record intraday high.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.5 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries continue to see substantial weakness after gapping open sharply lower. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 10.1 basis points at 1.742 percent.
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