Technology stocks extended losses Friday as shares of what were once market darlings at the height of the pandemic headed for their worst monthly drop since the global financial crisis.
Amazon.com Inc. led the decline with a 14 percent drop, the worst since 2006, as the e-commerce giant’s buildout during the pandemic proved to be too much amid waning consumer demand. The Nasdaq 100 retreated 4.5 percent, bringing its losses to 13 percent for the month, the most since October 2008. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was 3.6 percent lower, with every major sector in the red.
A busy earnings season has largely helped temper losses during a turbulent year, even with the notable disappointments. Yet fears of tightening monetary policy at the Federal Reserve, combined with COVID-19 lockdowns in China and Russia’s war in Ukraine, has dented sentiment, especially for frothy growth shares that have future profits at risk. Shares of Apple Inc. also declined 3.7 percent after warning of supply constraints.
“Key tech giants have been keeping the stock averages from falling even further than they already have, so it looks like April is going to end on a sour note,” wrote Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., noting benchmark gains Thursday on results from Meta Platforms Inc. “But experience tells us that these kinds of wild intraday moves (and wild day-to-day moves) that we have experienced on many days in recent weeks are signs of an unhealthy market.”
Tech companies are set to show a profit contraction of 1.2 percent for the first quarter, compared with growth of 12 percent for the rest of the market, according to Credit Suisse’s Jonathan Golub. Large tech firms have also beat earnings by 2.3 percent versus 8.6 percent for the rest, his data shows.
The losses come as investors are assessing risks from a number of macro headwinds amid economic data that paints a positive picture of business demand.
The U.S. yield curve flattened Friday as traders priced in a more aggressive Fed following data that showed U.S. spending was higher than expected. That followed a report Thursday pointing to solid consumer demand despite a surprise contraction in economic growth last quarter.
The figures underscore the debate about how much scope the U.S. central bank has to tighten policy before the economy cracks. Traders are now pricing in a near-equal chance that policy makers will raise interest rates by 75 basis points in June, following a half-point move that’s expected at their meeting next week.
“What’s happening here is we’re moving away from this period in which a rising tide is lifting all boats,” Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management, said on Bloomberg TV. “We no longer have ultra-accommodative Fed policy. We no longer have fiscal stimulus and speculative risk taking. And now we are getting to see what the fundamentals actually look like for technology firms, and we are seeing a big divergence between some of the winners and the losers.”
Treasuries declined, taking the 10-year U.S. yield to 2.90 percent. In foreign-exchange markets, the yen snapped a slide while staying near 20-year lows. The euro, pound and commodity-linked currencies made gains while the dollar dipped. Oil fell, erasing earlier gains.
Some of the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 fell 3.6 percent as of 4:01 p.m. New York time
The Nasdaq 100 fell 4.5 percent
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.8 percent
The MSCI World index fell 1.9 percent