United States stock indexes keep falling as rates resume their climb

Tech-related stocks were the biggest decliners, the sector shedding 4.0 per cent following an overnight United States session in which tech was badly hit, but the heavyweight financial and materials sectors were also deep underwater.

Bangsund said the indiscriminate selling indicates that many nervous investors were unwinding positions despite strong earnings expectations.

Compared to the start of this year, one aspect of current market conditions may be concerning.

"We've scratched our heads about the rise in stocks for the past 18 months".

The broad-based S&P 500 slumped 3.3 percent to end at 2,786.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index plummeted 4.0 percent to finish the session at 7,427.74. The benchmark USA stock index hadn't suffered a five-day losing streak since November 2016, just before the presidential election.

The CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street's "fear gauge", rose 7 points, or almost 44 percent, to 22.96, going above 20 for the first time since April 11 and hitting its highest close since April 2.

Netflix shares fell by 6pc and have now fallen by 12pc in the last five days.

The S&P 500 fell 54 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,825. That was its biggest loss since March 22. That didn't happen Wednesday as stocks fell further late in the day.

Stocks retreated Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average losing more than 800 points in a selloff that accelerated in the final minutes of trading.

Apple gave up 4.6 per cent to US$216.36 and Microsoft dropped 5.4 per cent to US$106.16. Amazon skidded 6.2 per cent to US$1755.25.

Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management said investors were also unnerved by remarks from luxury company LVMH of a crackdown on some goods in China amid the country's bitter dispute with the United States. Concerns about consumer spending have also led to jitters about U.S. companies as they prepare to unveil results for the third quarter of the year over the coming weeks. Berkshire Hathaway dipped 4.1% to $214.64 and reinsurer Everest Re slid 4.6% to $218.97. Tiffany plunged 10.2 percent to $110.38 and Ralph Lauren fell 8.4 percent to $116.96.

There have recently been several indications that the USA housing market has cooled, likely in part due to higher rates on mortgages.

The 10-year yield is now 3.20 percent, the highest in than seven years and up sharply form 2.82 percent in late August. Yields on 3-year notes have recently traded just above 3.0 percent, providing long-absent competition for investment returns with equities.

Technology and internet-based companies are known for their high profit margins, and many have reported explosive growth in recent years, with corresponding gains in their stock prices.

Gina Martin Adams, the chief equity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence, said investors were concerned about the big increase in yields, which makes it more expensive to borrow money.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and 47 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 227 new lows.

Sears nosedived after the Wall Street Journal reported that the struggling retailer hired an advisory firm to prepare a bankruptcy filing that could come within days.

BHP was down 2.75 per cent at $33.765, a fall only marginally worse than fellow mining giant Rio Tinto's 2.37 per cent to $77.29. "As stocks go down, tech goes down more than the stock market", she said. Over the years, Sears has closed hundreds of stores and sold several famous brands. The stock fell 35.7 percent to 38 cents in morning trading. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 2.2 percent to $83.09 a barrel in London.

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