Tech shares lead US stocks lower amid inflation worries

There is a growing fear in markets that an expected burst of economic activity will fire inflation and force the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates
·3 min read

Tech shares were hammered Wednesday on Wall Street amid lingering worries over inflation, while shares of industrials and airlines benefited from the latest positive coronavirus vaccine news.

All three major US indices fell, with the Nasdaq slumping 2.7 percent, as investors monitored rising Treasury yields and digested disappointing economic data.

Earlier, Asian equities won solid gains, while European bourses finished modestly higher.

"After a couple of days of gains, the bullish sentiment in European equities has run out of steam," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK, who added that a rise in bond yields put a damper on investor sentiment.

Higher yields "put people a little on edge," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Large tech shares including Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet fell more than two percent.

But it was a different story for industrial companies such as Boeing, airlines and petroleum producers, which are seen as poised to benefit from an economic recovery once Covid-19 vaccines become widespread.

The US vaccine outlook improved further on Tuesday when President Joe Biden said there would be sufficient supply for all American adults by the end of May following a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

In London, British finance minister Rishi Sunak presented the government's budget, which includes plans to ramp tax on company profits up to 25 percent from 2023 as the country faces surging debt taken on to prop up the economy during Covid-19 lockdowns.

But a special tax break on business investments helped sweeten the fiscal medicine, and could encourage firms to ramp up spending.

Sunak had said on Tuesday that he will extend his multi-billion-pound furlough scheme paying the bulk of wages for millions of private-sector workers.

Hospitality, travel and real estate firms rallied as Britain looks to reopen its shattered economy, which tanked almost ten percent last year.

In other markets, oil prices advanced strongly on the eve of a key OPEC+ producers' meeting.

- Key figures around 2110 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 31,270.09 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 1.3 percent at 3,819.72 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 2.7 percent at 12,997.75 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 6,675.47 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 14,080.03 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,830.06 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,712.78 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 29,559.10 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.7 percent at 29,880.42 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.0 percent at 3,576.90 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2071 from $1.2091 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3954 from $1.3955

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.41 pence from 86.64 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 106.96 yen from 106.69 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.2 percent at $64.07 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.6 percent at $61.28 per barrel

burs-jmb/cs