By William Watts
Tech-related stocks bounced back from early losses, with the Nasdaq erasing an early tumble to end with a small loss on Tuesday, while the broader market remained under pressure in a selloff attributed in part to inflation jitters.
What are major benchmarks doing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.42% fell 473.66 points, or 1.4%, to close at 34,269.16.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.16% gave up 36.33 points, or 0.9%, to end at 4,152.10.
The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.75% finished with a loss of 12.43 points, or 0.1%, at 13,389.43, after dropping to a six-week intraday low at 13,107.67.
What’s driving the market?
Big tech shares tumbled in the early going Tuesday, setting the tone for the sector and the overall market, with shares of Facebook Inc. , Microsoft Corp. MSFT , Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.89% and Google parent Alphabet Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +4.41% /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +4.16% suffering big losses in early trade, but they mostly came off session lows or ended in positive territory.
Other sectors stumbled, including cyclical areas expected to benefit most from the economic recovery. The S&P 500 energy sector fell 2.4%, to lead the move to the downside, while industrials were off 1.6%.
Analysts expect a jump in consumer prices and supply shortages in goods like computer chips and some commodities as economies recover from the pandemic and pent-up demand is unleashed by households, businesses and entire industries.
“There seems to be modest concern over inflation as of late and that has been cited as the primary catalyst for recent weakness in global equities, said Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network.
Long-term U.S. bond yields have pushed back modestly to the upside, but remain off the highs seen in March, a move in line with a Federal Reserve committed to maintaining a loose monetary policy framework that’s boosting inflation expectations, Price said.
“This has continued to fuel the recent move from growth to value stocks although it seems as though everything is caught up in today’s selloff,” he said. With major indexes not far off all-time highs — both the Dow and S&P 500 finished at records on Friday — it isn’t a shock to see investors “hit pause” and evaluate the catalyst for another move higher, Price said.
Investors are also concerned about the U.S. labor market after a much smaller-than-expected rise in nonfarm payrolls in March was reported on Friday, while companies continue to report difficulties filling open positions.
The National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday its monthly survey found a record 44% of small businesses said job openings went unfilled in April.
Separately, the Labor Department on Tuesday said job openings in the U.S. topped 8 million in March for the first time ever. There were 7.5 million open jobs in February.
Meanwhile Federal Reserve Board Gov. Lael Brainard, in a Tuesday speech, said an economic boom wasn’t guaranteed and that the central bank should be patient about relaxing its loose monetary policy stance.