Business World

Tuesday 20 February 2018

US stocks fall on weak home-sales data

Taoiseach Enda Kenny rings the Nasdaq opening bell from the Dublin Web Summit. Picture: Tony Kinlan
Taoiseach Enda Kenny rings the Nasdaq opening bell from the Dublin Web Summit. Picture: Tony Kinlan

US stocks fell yesterday afternoon, extending last week's steep sell-off, as weaker-than-expected new home sales data and ongoing concerns about emerging markets weighed on investor sentiment.

The tech sector was the biggest loser, with the Nasdaq falling nearly 1.5pc. The Dow industrial average, although in negative territory, was outperforming the broader market thanks to Caterpillar, which reported better-than-expected results.

"Earnings gave investors hope but the reality of all the moving parts of emerging markets and weak home sales made them rethink how good results from a handful of companies really are," said Kim Forrest, analyst at Fort Pitt Capital.

Investors were also cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, which begins today.

Many market participants expect another sell-off if the Fed decides to keep withdrawing its stimulus, pressuring equities already riled by a flight from emerging markets last week.

Big tech names weighed on the market. Google shares were off 3.4pc. Microsoft shares lost 2.2pc. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 58.02 points or 0.37pc, to 15,821.09, the S&P 500 lost 12.95 points or 0.72 pc, to 1,777.34 and the Nasdaq dropped 61.438 points or 1.5pc, to 4,066.736.

The day's declines followed a steep sell-off last week, raising concerns that the market may be in for a major correction.

Irish Independent

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