Wall St. extends tech-led selloff

February 8, 2016 09:03 AM

Wall Street fell sharply in early trading on Monday, continuing a technology-led selloff from Friday, as fears of a worsening global-economic slowdown and dropping oil prices continued to rattle investors.

The Nasdaq Composite that includes large-cap technology names such as Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook was off 1.7% on Monday. 

Microsoft's 3.3% decline weighed the most on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Heavyweights Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet  were down between 2% and 4%.

"Equities are in a 'go-nowhere-fast' mode, with a downward bias in the near term," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

"We need oil to stabilize to provide some confidence for investors, partly because to a degree, investors' stress is high, earnings visibility is low, and market internals continue to weaken," he said.

U.S. crude oil prices fell 2.6% after a meeting between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela failed to reassure investors of measures to bolster prices. 

Demand for crude is considered a barometer for global economic health, and markets across the world have tracked the rise and fall in the price of the commodity this year.

At 9:36 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 238.19 points, or 1.47%, at 15,966.78.

The S&P 500  was down 30.73 points, or 1.63%, at 1,849.32.

The Nasdaq Composite index  was down 93.95 points, or 2.15%, at 4,269.19. The index closed at its lowest since October 2014 on Friday.

Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the 1.95% fall in tech stocks leading the decliners.

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Abhiram Nandakumar, Reuters