Facebook up but tech woes weigh on global markets
The Nasdaq Composite index was sharply lower yesterday, dragged down by losses in Amazon and tech heavyweights such as Apple and Intel.
Amazon fell more than 5pc after reports that President Donald Trump was looking to target the company by changing its tax treatment.
Apple dropped about 1pc after Goldman Sachs analysts cut sales estimate for iPhone for March and June quarters, citing weak demand.
Intel was down 3.7pc and weighed the most on the S&P tech index.
"Tech and discretionary stocks have been strong. Those are two sectors that are up year-to-date and what we're seeing is profit-taking in the quarter-end," said Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist, Jonestrading, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Facebook bucked the trend and shares rose marginally but only after days of sustained losses that wiped out more than $100bn in market value.
The social network said it was giving users more control over their privacy by making data management easier and redesigning the settings menu, following a global outcry over data privacy issues at the company. Facebook shares are now down 14pc this month.
The main indexes were on track to record their worst month since January 2016, hurt by fears of a trade war between the United States and China as well as rising US interest rates.
Comments from top officials of the two countries had given a sense that they would negotiate over President Donald Trump's move to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.
However, China's state-run 'Global Times' reported yesterday that the country was expected to soon announce a list of retaliatory tariffs on US exports.
Tesla dropped more than 7pc after the US government said it would investigate a fatal crash and vehicle fire of a Model X in California.
A move into defensive stocks helped Britain's FTSE climb to a one-week high on Wednesday, shaking off broader concerns.
In Dublin, shares were higher, led by the banks that were boosted by scotching of the prospect of changes to the tax treatment of historic losses.
Shares in pharma firm Shire surged 14pc after Takeda Pharmaceutical Co said it was considering a possible offer for the London-listed drugmaker.