US Markets

Nasdaq closes 1.8% lower, posts worst week of the year as big tech stocks tank

Key Points
  • The Nasdaq composite was dragged lower by Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet, which all fell at least 3 percent.
  • Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average posted intraday and closing records.
Markets open higher as Nasdaq hits new record high
Markets open higher as Nasdaq hits new record high

U.S. stocks closed mixed on Friday on pressure from this year's best-performing sector: technology.

The Nasdaq composite hit a record high at the open before closing 1.8 percent lower. Shares of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all fell more than 3 percent.

The tech-heavy index also posted its worst weekly performance of the year.

Still, "you're not seeing any major fundamental factors that would drive tech lower here," said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners.

Dave Lutz, head of ETF trading at JonesTrading, pointed out that Nvidia had risen more than 5 percent earlier in the session before trading 6.5 percent lower. "That could be a signal that some traders are looking into," he said.

Momentum names like Priceline and Tesla also took a hit, falling 2.6 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

The S&P 500 closed 0.1 percent lower, erasing earlier gains, with information technology dropping more than 2.5 percent. To be sure, tech has had a stellar year, rising about 20 percent in the period to lead all sectors.

"There's a rotation from tech into different sectors," said JonesTrading's Lutz, noting financials and energy, two of this year's laggards, are outperforming Friday.

Financials received a boost from higher bank stocks, as the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) advanced 2.9 percent. The ETF was also on track for its best week of the year. Energy, meanwhile, advanced 2.5 percent to lead advancers.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 90 points, notching a record close with Goldman Sachs contributing the most gains.

Stocks hit record intraday highs earlier in the session, as investors shook off a widely unexpected result to the general election in the United Kingdom.

Prime Minster Theresa May's Conservative party lost its parliamentary majority in the process, coming up with 318 of 650 seats. Conservatives held a 17-seat majority before the contest. Some pollsters expected May's party to retain the majority while others expected them to build on it. That said, no other party came out with a clear majority.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.
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"Investors have been pretty bullish all year," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Financial Partners. "All of the fundamentals are there for the market to go higher, but from time to time we become concerned with political uncertainty."

The results sent the British pound spiraling lower to its weakest level since April 18 against the dollar. As of 4:04 p.m. in New York, sterling traded off those lows but was still down 1.7 percent at $1.273.

European equities seemingly shrugged off the result, however. The FTSE 100 rose 1.04 percent, while the German Dax advanced 0.8 percent. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index gained 0.32 percent.

"The muted response from financial markets so far reflects their sense of déjà vu. After all, in the past 12 months they have also had to absorb the shocks of the EU referendum result and President Trump's election," said Lucy O'Carroll, chief economist at Aberdeen Asset Management.

"That said, we could see a fair amount of volatility in the coming days and weeks unless Westminster's response to this surprise result is remarkably smooth, which is unlikely. History tells us that hung parliaments are not durable, let alone with Brexit looming large," O'Carroll said.

U.S. stock futures traded mostly higher on Friday, however, with Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures advancing 34, 3 and 4 points, respectively.

Investors also remained undeterred by former FBI Director James Comey's testimony on Thursday, which some saw as lacking a "smoking gun" that could derail Donald Trump's presidency.

Cornerstone's Zaccarelli said that, while the testimony was "very unflattering" to Trump, it is unlikely to lead to an impeachment.

Major U.S. Indexes

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 89.44 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 21,271.97, with Pfizer leading advancers and Apple the top decliner.

The slipped 2.02 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at 2,431.77, with information technology leading four sectors lower and energy outperforming.

The Nasdaq pulled back 113.80 points, or 1.8 percent, to 6,207.92.

About nine stocks advanced for every five decliners at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 984.25 million and a composite volume of 4.013 billion at the close.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 10.6.