BUSINESS US stocks open lower as tech skids

BUSINESS

US stocks open lower as tech skids

Xinhua

23:07, March 18, 2021

NEW YORK, March 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday, as a sell-off in tech names weighed on the market.

U.S. national flags are blown by gusts of wind in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, the United States, April 13, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.74 points, or 0.02 percent, to 33,009.63. The S&P 500 lost 23.83 points, or 0.60 percent, to 3,950.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 184.73 points, or 1.37 percent, to 13,340.48.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors pulled back in morning trading, with technology down 1.77 percent, leading the laggards. Financials rose 1.2 percent, the best-performing group.

A surge in U.S. bond yields hit high-flying stocks, especially tech shares. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. treasury, a crude proxy for inflation expectations, broke above 1.75 percent on Thursday morning, its highest level since late January 2020. The 30-year treasury yield topped 2.5 percent.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve left its easy monetary policy stance in place. The central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero, as inflation debate heats up, driven by COVID-19 vaccination progress and the latest relief package.

"Following a moderation in the pace of the recovery, indicators of economic activity and employment have turned up recently, although the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic remain weak," the Fed said in a statement after concluding its two-day policy meeting.

Noting that inflation continues to run below 2 percent, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's policy-making body, reaffirmed that it will aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time so that inflation averages 2 percent over time and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2 percent.

U.S. equities closed higher on Wednesday with the Dow ending above the 33,000 threshold for the first time after the Fed announcement.

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