U.S. stocks fell sharply on Tuesday continuing a vicious April sell-off after a one-day breather, as investors dumped shares on fears of an economic slowdown.
Tech stocks led the decline as investors did not wait around for Microsoft and Alphabet first-quarter results after the bell Tuesday, fearing more blow-ups like the one seen in Netflix earlier in the earnings season.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.7% and retreated more deeply into bear market territory, sitting now 22% off its high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed about 535 points, or 1.6%, led by losses in global consumer bellwether Nike. The S&P 500 lost 1.8%.
For April, the S&P 500 is off by around 7%, the Nasdaq is down about 11% and the Dow is down roughly 3%. The Nasdaq Composite neared its low for the year set in March.
“The risk-reward is just not there into big-cap tech earnings,” Satori Fund founder and senior portfolio manager Dan Niles told CNBC’s “TechCheck” on Tuesday. “I expect every single one of them to see forward numbers go down.”
Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet both lost more than 2%. Facebook parent Meta, Amazon and Apple were also lower Tuesday, with earnings results slated for later this week.
Netflix shares dropped 3.9% and hit a new multi-year low. Last week, Netflix plunged 35% in a single day after reporting a surprising subscriber loss for the first quarter.
The strength in Big Tech stocks in recent years “is likely to burst when fundamentals start to meaningful deteriorate as the overall economy slows,” Wolfe Research’s Chris Senyek said in a research note.
Worries about the global economy loomed. Investors are worried about a Covid surge in China. Regarding the war in Ukraine, a top Russian official said the threat of nuclear war is real. Plus, high inflation in the U.S. is denting demand for goods from houses to sneakers.
“There are a lot of economic growth concerns,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “China is a big customer for U.S. tech. … The semiconductor industry does a lot of business there. But it’s also concerns with growth here as well.”
Tesla, which has a factory in Shanghai and counts China as a major market for its electric vehicles, was the biggest laggard on the Nasdaq Composite, down about 10%. The shares also came under pressure as its CEO and founder, Elon Musk, looked to close his proposed deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
Chip stocks were among the top decliners on the Nasdaq Composite. Nvidia and AMD both retreated more than 4%.
Cyclical names tied to economic growth also suffered Tuesday. Dow component 3M fell about 3% despite better-than-expected earnings as the company noted macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges ahead. UPS shares also fell more than 3% despite the shipper’s quarterly earnings and revenue topping expectations.
Other industrial names like General Electric and Boeing were lower Tuesday. GE fell more than 11%, while Boeing eased 4%. GE warned that its 2022 outlook was “trending toward the low end of the range.”
Bank stocks also struggled as interest rates fell. U.S. Treasury yields declined, with the benchmark 10-year rate falling below 2.8%. Wells Fargo and Bank of America both lost more than 1%.