NEW YORK, March 4 ― Wall Street ended lower yesterday, with growth stocks including Tesla and Amazon denting the Nasdaq, as the Ukraine crisis kept investors on edge.
Tesla dropped 4.6 per cent and Amazon lost 2.7 per cent, both contributing more than any other stocks to the Nasdaq's steep decline.
The S&P 500 growth index dipped 1.1 per cent while the value index edged up 0.1 per cent.
Reflecting a defensive mood on Wall Street, the S&P 500 utilities index rallied 1.7 per cent and real estate climbed 1.1 per cent.
With Russia's invasion of Ukraine now a week in, hundreds of Russian soldiers and Ukrainian civilians have been killed, and Russia itself has been plunged into isolation.
“The market is entirely locked on what this geopolitical turmoil looks like,” said Ross Mayfield, an investment strategist at Baird in Louisville, Kentucky. “Volatility is likely to remain for probably the near term, and maybe even the medium term, because I just don't see what an acceptable off ramp in the next couple of weeks for Ukraine or Putin.”
Also, soaring prices of oil and other commodities have stoked fears that recent high inflation could combine with stagnant economic growth, making it more difficult for the Federal Reserve and other major central banks to manage interest rates.
The percentage of fund managers who expect so-called stagflation within the next 12 months stood at 30 per cent, compared with 22 per cent last month, a survey from BofA Global Research showed.
Wall Street surged in the previous session after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he would back a quarter point rate increase at the March 15-16 meeting, assuaging some fears of a more aggressive hike.
“We are going to stay in a tight range until we have the Fed meeting in two weeks because there's limited earnings,” predicted Jay Hatfield, chief investment officer at Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.
“There's no real reason to be long, unless, of course, there's some peace or stability in Ukraine, which doesn't seem likely.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29 per cent to end at 33,794.66 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.53 per cent to 4,363.49.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.56 per cent to 13,537.94.
Volume on US exchanges was 12.6 billion shares, the lowest in six days, according to Refinitiv data.
Meanwhile, data showed a measure of US services industry activity dropped to a one-year low in February and employment contracted.
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American Eagle Outfitters Inc slid 9.3 per cent after the apparel chain forecast a decline in earnings for the first half of 2022.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.48-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.12-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 45 new highs and 206 new lows. ― Reuters