The stock market’s gains for 2018 were erased Tuesday as a sell-off led by giant technology stocks continued for a second day. The renewed U.S. declines came after drops in Asia and Europe.
The tumble of more than 1 percent in the S&P 500 followed a sell-off in high-flying technology stocks like Google, Apple and Amazon in the United States on Monday, as investors weighed the prospects for increased regulation, trade tension and threats to the profit outlook for the large technology firms that exert a large influence on major market indexes.
At 10:52 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 143.89 points, or 0.95 per cent, at 14,927.12.
The pain continued for such companies Tuesday with Apple and Amazon falling by more than 4 percent in early trading. But a new area of concern also flared up after the retailer Target reported third-quarter sales and profit that missed Wall Street expectations. Target’s shares dove by more than 10 percent.
The softness in retail shares reflects growing investor concern that the strong U.S. economy — which has so far shrugged off Federal Reserve interest rate hikes and signs of weakness in China and Europe — is likely to face increasing challenges in 2019, as the impact of federal tax cuts and spending increases diminishes.
Monday’s U.S. slide had already spilled over into Europe and Asia before trading on Wall Street opened Tuesday. By early afternoon, European share indexes were all in the red, driven down by technology stocks. The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of eurozone blue-chips, was down more than 1 percent and at its lowest point in about three weeks.
The CAC 40 in France and the DAX in Germany were also down more than 1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 had slipped about 0.5 percent.
Concerns about privacy lapses and mismanagement at technology companies weighed on stocks Monday, adding to broader concerns about the impact of a trade war between the United States and China as well as signs of slowing growth around the globe.
The pessimism continued in the Chinese markets of Shanghai and Shenzhen as the worries that hurt U.S. technology stocks hit stocks in other parts of the world.
In Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen, trade concerns helped to push the stocks of Chinese semiconductor-makers and other big technology companies into the red. A drop in the stock price of the chip maker Nvidia several days ago after disappointing earnings may also have rattled investors in chip makers across China. The Chinese stock market is down by more than 20 percent so far this year.
Shares of Tencent, the Chinese internet conglomerate, fell 3.3 percent in Hong Kong trading. A broader index of large Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong dropped by 1.6 percent, while the Hong Kong market closed the day down 2 percent.
“Stocks look weak,” Robert Carnell, chief economist for Asia Pacific at the Dutch bank ING, wrote in a note to investors. “Oversupply in the semiconductor industry is an issue for Asia, and made worse by an apparent lack of demand for some well-known producers of high-tech products.”
Trade frictions also continue to overhang markets. World leaders are meeting next week in Argentina for the Group of 20 conference, which President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China will attend. Hopes that the two sides would come to a trade agreement on the sidelines have waned since officials from both countries sparred over the weekend at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Papua New Guinea.
Stocks in Japanese automobile companies helped to drag the benchmark exchange in Tokyo down by 0.7 percent. The sell-off was prompted in part by news that Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Nissan, was arrested Monday after the carmaker found that he had underreported his compensation to the Japanese government. Shares in Nissan fell 5.5 percent in Tokyo.
In Seoul, South Korea, and Taipei, Taiwan, the markets finished the day down nearly 1 percent.
New York Times News Service