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S&P 500 falls for a third straight day amid more weakness in tech shares, Powell comments

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U.S. stocks fell on Thursday as the market continued to struggle in recent weeks, especially high-growth technology names.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dipped 150 points, while futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also lower by 0.5%. Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook all traded in negative territory in premarket. Tesla fell another 3%.

“The weakness in technology stocks is undeniable, but it likely won’t be a straight line down for the sector and there will be zigs and zags along the way,” said David Bahnsen, chief investment officer at The Bahnsen Group. “Tech stock valuations are too high and are screaming for a correction.”

Oil prices fell about 3% Thursday as demand concerns rekindled with fresh coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

The rollover in futures came as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at one day starting to remove the stimulus that has boosted the market during the pandemic.

“As we make substantial further progress toward our goals, we’ll gradually roll back the amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities we’ve bought,” Powell told NPR’s “Morning Edition.” “We will very gradually over time and with great transparency, when the economy has all but fully recovered, we will be pulling back the support that we provided during emergency times.”

Investors pored over a better-than-expected reading on weekly jobless claims. The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 684,000 for the week ended March 20, lower than an estimate of 735,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

A steep sell-off in technology shares led the broader market lower on Wednesday. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% in the previous session, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 2% to close at its session low. Apple, Facebook and Netflix all slid more than 2%, while Tesla fell 4.8%.

Pressure on equities came even as bond yields continued to decline from recent highs. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped 3 basis points to 1.61% Wednesday, falling for a third day after the rate hit a 14-month high last week.

The three major averages are all on track to post a losing week, with the S&P 500 falling 0.6% through Wednesday’s close. The Nasdaq has fallen 1.9% this week.


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