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Nasdaq 100 tumbles, ends 11% below Feb. 12 record


Tech shares tumbled anew, sending the Nasaq 100 Index down 11% from its all-time high, as investors fled high-valuation stocks for companies whose fortunes are closely tied to the economic cycle.

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The benchmark for megacap tech dropped 2.9% and is now at the lowest since November. The S&P 500 ended lower after rising as much as 1% as tech shares in the gauge dropped 2.5%. Financial firms and materials producers kept losses from being worse. The Dow Jones industrial average hit an all-time high before settling for a 1% gain, buoyed by rallies in banks and Walt Disney Co. Tesla Inc. pushed its five-day rout past 20%. Blank-check companies backed by Chamath Palihapitiya tumbled.

The 10-year Treasury rate jumped toward 1.6%, while the dollar strengthened. Brent crude briefly traded near $70 a barrel before pulling back. Gold slumped and Bitcoin traded above $51,000.

Investors embraced the prospect for a surge in global economic growth as vaccine distribution improves and the U.S. heads toward passing a $1.9 trillion spending bill. The risks associated with rising Treasury yields remain an overhang amid fears that government aid programs could overheat economic growth.

"You will see a lot of volatility in markets," Kim Stafford, Asia Pacific head at Pacific Investment Management Co., said on Bloomberg Television. "We believe that confidence is improving, especially with vaccines coming online, so we will see an uptick in growth globally. There are a lot of reasons to be confident in the market, but a lot of this is also priced in."

There are also questions about whether equity valuations have become excessive, especially in speculative tech shares. The Nasdaq 100 Index has fallen about 8% since early February.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index fell 0.5% as of 4 p.m. EST.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 2.9%.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1%.

The MSCI All-Country World Index fell 0.3%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.1% to the highest in almost three weeks.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.5% to 1,150.02, the highest in 16 weeks.

The euro declined 0.5% to $1.1850, the weakest in 15 weeks.

The Japanese yen depreciated 0.5% to 108.88 per dollar, the weakest in nine months.

The British pound dipped 0.1% to $1.3829, the weakest in more than three weeks.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasurys rose three basis points to 1.59%.

Germany's 10-year yield gained two basis points to -0.277%, the highest in more than a week.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude declined 2.1% to $64.71 a barrel.

Gold futures depreciated 1.1% to $1,679.20 an ounce.

Published : March 09, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Andreea Papuc, Lynn Thomasson