Stock market news live updates: Stocks drop, Nasdaq posts worst session since October as tech rout deepens

Emily McCormick
·Reporter
·6 min read

Stocks traded lower, and tech shares sold off, as a rapid rise in Treasury yields spooked equity investors.

All three major indexes fell, and the Nasdaq underperformed with a drop of 3.5% for its worst session since October as tech stocks renewed their declines. The S&P 500 sank by 2.5%. The Dow traded lower by more than 1.5%, after the index reached a record closing high a day earlier as cyclical and value stocks maintained their leadership positions.

Meanwhile, shares of GameStop (GME) extended gains after more than doubling on Wednesday, after investors on Reddit appeared to take the news of Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell's resignation as a signal of a possible positive turnaround for the company. Shares of AMC (AMC), another speculative darling of vocal retail traders on Reddit, also rallied.

U.S. Treasury yields rose to fresh one-year highs. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note broke above 1.45% for the first time since February 2020 on Thursday, adding to recent advances.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has tried to temper market participants' increasing fears over higher inflation and rates during his semiannual monetary policy testimony before Congress earlier this week. He reaffirmed his view that upward pressure on prices in the coming months would be transitory, and that the U.S. economy still required policy support to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It seems pretty clear to us that the move in rates has been driven by growing optimism about economic growth, and rates are finally ‘catching up’ to the bullish growth outlook in equities. So equity investors should not be overly concerned,” UBS strategist David Lefkowitz wrote in a note.

“But can rates rise too much before it begins to become a headwind for stocks? In theory, yes, but typically only if the rise in rates begins to choke off economic growth, perhaps because the Federal Reserve is worried about inflation,” he added. “With the pandemic winding down later this year, massive pent-up consumer demand (close to USD 2 trillion of excess savings by consumers), more fiscal stimulus on the way, and the Fed keeping the pedal to the metal, it's hard to see the recent rise in rates having a material drag on economic growth.”

4:02 p.m. ET: Stocks slide, Nasdaq drops 3.5% for worst day since October as tech rout deepens

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -96.18 (-2.45%) to 3,829.25

  • Dow (^DJI): -561.36 (-1.76%) to 31,400.50

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -478.54 (-3.52%) to 13,119.43

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.17 (+0.27%) to $63.39 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$26.60 (-1.48%) to $1,771.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +12.9 bps to yield 1.5180%

12:09 p.m. ET: Stocks extend declines, Nasdaq drops 2%

The three major indexes added to losses Thursday afternoon. The S&P 500 dropped 1.4% as the information technology, consumer discretionary and communication services sectors declined sharply. Consumer staples, healthcare and utilities stocks outperformed, though the sectors were still in slightly negative territory.

The Nasdaq dropped more than 2% for the second time this week, as selling pressure in tech and growth stocks picked up steam. The Dow dropped more than 300 points, or 1%, as shares of Boeing and Intel led to the downside.

10:00 a.m. ET: Pending home sales unexpectedly declined in January

Pending home sales unexpectedly fell on a month-over-month basis in January, dropping by 2.8%, the National Association of Realtors reported on Thursday. This followed an upwardly revised monthly increase of 0.5% in December, whereas a decline of 0.3% was reported previously.

Despite the sequential decline in pending home sales at the start of the year, sales were still up strongly on a year-over-year basis. Pending home sales remained higher by 8.2% in January over the same month in 2020.

9:33 a.m. ET: Stocks open mixed

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:33 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -8.67 points (-0.22%) to 3,916.76

  • Dow (^DJI): +14.8 (+0.05%) to 31,976.66

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -50.67 (-0.37%) to 13,556.05

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.38 (-0.6%) to $62.84 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$18.30 (-1.02%) to $1,779.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5 bps to yield 1.439%

8:45 a.m. ET: Durable goods orders surged much more than expected in January, led by rebound in aircraft demand

Orders for U.S. durable goods, or products meant to last three years or longer, increased far more than expected in January, led by a rebound in demand for aircraft after a 2020 slump.

Durable goods orders rose 3.4% in January over December, following an upwardly revised 1.2% increase during the previous month, the Commerce Department said. Consensus economists were looking for durable goods orders to rise by 1.1%, according to Bloomberg consensus data.

New orders for non-defense aircraft and parts increased by a stunning 389.9% in January over December, contributing much of the gain. Excluding transportation orders, durable goods orders rose by 1.4%, for a pace still double the 0.7% consensus estimate.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft did slow more than anticipated in January, however. This proxy for business capital expenditures rose by 0.5% during the month, missing estimates for a 0.8% rise.

8:43 a.m. ET: Jobless claims fall more than expected, dropping below 800,000 for the first time in seven weeks

Weekly unemployment claims fell far more than expected last week, as the labor market recovery took a stride forward even as harsh winter weather compounded with the coronavirus pandemic over the past several weeks. New jobless claims totaled 730,000, or better than the 825,000 expected. This was also an improvement from the prior week's downwardly revised 841,000.

Continuing jobless claims fell to 4.419 million, down from the upwardly revised 4.520 million from the prior week.

7:17 a.m. ET Thursday: Stocks point to a slightly lower open

Here's where markets were trading Thursday morning before the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -13 points (-0.33%) to 3,909.50

  • Dow (^DJI): -3 points (-0.01%) to 31,913.00

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -135.5 points (-1.02%) to 13,166.50

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.15 (+0.24%) to $63.37 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$13.10 (-0.73%) to $1,784.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.9 bps to yield 1.448%

6:01 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stocks open flat after Dow reaches record high

Here's where markets were trading as the overnight session began:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,922.5, unchanged

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 31,934.00, up 18 points or 0.06%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,292.5, down 9.5 points or 0.07%

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on February 17, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on February 17, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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