US close: Sell-off resumes as Nasdaq drops 3.1 per cent

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - Nasdaq falls to lowest since early February
- Tech stocks sold off
- Volatility index up 15 per cent
- Jobless claims fall to seven-year low

Dow Jones: -1.62%
Nasdaq: -3.10%
S&P 500: -2.09%

Selling pressure intensified on Thursday afternoon on Wall Street, leading to the worst one-day percentage loss for the Nasdaq Composite index since late 2011 as investors continued to dump stocks that have performed well in recent months.

Gains made earlier in the week on US markets were completely erased as the Nasdaq fell 3.1% to 4,054, its lowest close since early February. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.6% and the S&P 500 declined by 2.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index surged by 15% during the session.

"It would appear the sell-off in high-growth stocks is far from over," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.

"To be honest, it's probably about time that investors got realistic about the valuations of certain stocks. To some extent, current valuations had priced in either looser monetary policy from some major central banks than is being seen or a superior economic performance," he said.

Markets were largely shrugging off an upbeat jobless claims figure, which fell to its lowest level in seven years last week. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 300,000 in the week ended April 5th, down from the previous week's revised 332,000 and well below the forecast of 320,000.

"Overall, these data point to a labour market that is picking up steam along with activity as the weather normalises in the spring," said Analyst Dean Maki from Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) .

US markets had surged on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released minutes of its March 18-19th meeting, in which policymakers played down the predictions that interest rates might rise faster than previously forecast.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference following last month's meeting that interest rates might be raised about six months after the central bank ends quantitative easing. However, some policymakers at the meeting said that the initial rise in interest rates is likely to come later than current forecasts predict, given that the median projection for the federal funds rate was "overstated".

Bed, Bath & Beyond, tech stocks

Bed Bath & Beyond (NasdaqGS: BBBY - news) was a heavy faller today after broadly in-line fourth-quarter results were overshadowed by disappointing guidance for the current quarter. The homeward retailer said it expects to earn 92-96 cents in its fiscal first quarter, below the consensus forecast of 102 cents.

Internet and software stocks were among the worst performers on Thursday, providing a drag on the tech-heavy Nasdaq with Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) , Yahoo (TLO: YA-U.TI - news) ! and TripAdvisor (NasdaqGS: TRIP - news) falling sharply. Just one stock on the Nasdaq, logistics group CH Robinson Worldwide (NasdaqGS: CHRW - news) , finished in positive territory.

Meanwhile, Imperva Inc (NYSE: IMPV - news) . slumped after the tech company posted a loss that was wider than analysts had projected.

Rite Aid Corp climbed after the drug store retailer forecast full-year sales that exceeded estimates.

Meanwhile, warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale gained after saying that comparable sales in March rose a better-than-expected 5%.



S&P 500 - Risers
Windstream Holdings Inc (NasdaqGS: WIN - news) (WIN (Taiwan OTC: 3105.TWO - news) ) $8.72 +2.11%
CH Robinson Worldwide Inc (CHRW) $53.80 +1.61%
McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $99.43 +1.10%
AES Corp. (AES (Frankfurt: AES.F - news) ) $14.43 +0.91%
AT&T Inc (NYSE: T - news) . (T) $35.12 +0.57%
Avon Products Inc (NYSE: AVP - news) . (AVP (Other OTC: AVPI - news) ) $14.94 +0.47%
Centerpoint Energy Inc (NYSE: CNP - news) . (CNP) $23.96 +0.42%
Ameren Corp. (AEE) $40.17 +0.35%
Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) $68.61 +0.34%
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) $65.94 +0.32%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc (NasdaqGS: ALXN - news) . (ALXN) $144.19 -7.49%
Gilead Sciences Inc (NasdaqGS: GILD - news) . (GILD) $65.48 -7.32%
Monster Beverage Corp (MNST) $64.04 -7.04%
TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) $81.91 -7.04%
AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV - news) (ABBV) $47.35 -6.48%
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) $63.72 -6.17%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $65.69 -6.11%
Actavis plc (NYSE: ACT - news) (ACT (KOSDAQ: 131400.KQ - news) ) $191.29 -5.24%
Lam Research Corp (Frankfurt: LAR.F - news) . (LRCX) $53.07 -5.23%
Facebook Inc. (FB) $59.16 -5.21%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $99.43 +1.10%
AT&T Inc. (T) $35.12 +0.57%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
American Express Co. (AXP) $85.36 -3.79%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $77.51 -3.68%
JP Morgan Chase (Other OTC: JFTTL - news) & Co. (JPM) $57.40 -3.16%
Visa Inc (NYSE: V - news) . (V) $201.55 -2.89%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $39.36 -2.74%
Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . (BA) $123.64 -2.55%
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ - news) (JNJ) $96.54 -2.44%
Merck & Co. Inc (Xetra: 6MK.DE - news) . (MRK) $55.85 -2.19%
United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX - news) . (UTX) $114.56 -2.12%
Intel Corp. (INTC) $26.42 -2.06%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
CH Robinson Worldwide Inc (CHRW) $53.80 +1.61%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) $144.19 -7.49%
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) $65.48 -7.32%
Monster Beverage Corp (MNST) $64.04 -7.04%
TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) $81.91 -7.04%
Illumina Inc (NasdaqGS: ILMN - news) . (ILMN) $135.74 -6.93%
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) $63.72 -6.17%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $65.69 -6.11%
Catamaran Corp (CTRX) $39.40 -5.94%
Tesla Motors Inc (Xetra: A1CX3T - news) (TSLA) $204.19 -5.87%
Facebook Inc. (FB) $59.16 -5.21%

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