(Bloomberg) — Volatility gripped financial markets as a selloff in some of the world’s largest technology companies sent stocks slumping. The dollar briefly touched session highs after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said rates may have to rise at one point to stop an economic overheating.
The S&P 500 headed toward its worst day since mid March, with all major groups in the red, while the Nasdaq 100 sank more than 2% amid a rout in megacaps Apple Inc., Tesla Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Twenty out of the 30 blue chips in the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated. The Cboe Volatility Index known as VIX surged.
A sharp drop in equity futures earlier Tuesday left traders scrambling for reasons to explain the move. The catalyst was unclear, but investors speculated on military tensions between China and Taiwan, Singapore’s tougher lockdown and Ferrari NV’s decision to postpone financial targets.
For several analysts, though, the reason could be simple — stocks are hovering near-all time highs and have struggled to gain much traction despite a stellar earnings season. The response could be a sign that most of the recovery in profits has already been priced into markets.
“We’ve had this spectacular run-up, and I think we’ve seen momentum just run out of steam,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index. “Despite earnings being encouraging, they haven’t managed to push those indices higher. Moving out of growth and into cyclicals is the place we’re going to have more movement.”
Traders also monitored the latest economic readings, with the U.S. trade deficit widening to a new record in March. Meanwhile, a senior White House economic aide demurred on the question of whether President Joe Biden will nominate Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for a second four-year term, saying the decision on selecting the next central bank chief will come after a thorough “process.”
Here are some key events to watch this week:
U.S. ADP employment change is due WednesdayChicago Fed President Charles Evans gives a virtual speech at an event hosted by Bard College on Wednesday. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester gives a virtual speech to the Boston Economic ClubBank of England rate decision ThursdayThe April U.S. employment report is released on Friday
These are some of the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 fell 1.2% as of 11:33 a.m. New York timeThe Nasdaq 100 fell 2.4%The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7%The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.5%The MSCI World index fell 1.2%
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%The euro fell 0.4% to $1.2017The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.3874The Japanese yen fell 0.2% to 109.32 per dollar
The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined one basis point to 1.59%Germany’s 10-year yield declined three basis points to -0.24%Britain’s 10-year yield declined five basis points to 0.79%
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.6% to $66 a barrelGold futures fell 0.5% to $1,783 an ounce
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