Stocks have worst session since May
Brewing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea put investors in a selling mood again Thursday, dragging U.S. stocks lower for the third day in a row.
The latest sell-off was the most severe yet, amounting to the biggest single-day drop for the stock market since May 17.
Technology firms, which have been the biggest gainers this year as the market hit a slew of record highs, led the broad slide. Banks and department stores also were big decliners. Utilities eked out a small gain.
“The market has been looking for an excuse to sell off, and North Korea and the president gave the market that excuse,” said David Schiegoleit, managing director at U.S. Bank Private Client Wealth Management. “As long as it doesn’t go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived.”
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.20% from 2.25%.
Unease over the escalating U.S.-North Korea tensions pushed the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, up 44.4%. That’s the biggest increase since May.
The market jitters gave investors an opportunity to pocket some of their recent gains after a string of record highs fueled by strong corporate earnings.
Heading into Thursday, some 89% of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported quarterly results. Of those, 52% delivered earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Tech stocks led Thursday’s slide. Nvidia fell 4.3% to $164.74. Advanced Micro Devices sank 5.5% to $12.12.
Several financial firms also helped pull down the market. Bank of New York Mellon slid 3.9% to $51.95. Citizens Financial Group declined 3.8% to $33.71.
Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market. Macy’s tumbled 10.2% to $20.67 after it said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter. Dillard’s slumped 15.9% to $61.70 after the chain booked a quarterly loss, saying increased inventory led to big discounts. Kohl’s declined 5.8% to $39.50.
Blue Apron slumped 17.6% to $5.14 after the seller of meal kits reported a sequential decline in customers last quarter due to a planned reduction in marketing. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 97 cents, or 2%, to $48.59 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 80 cents, or 1.5%, to $51.90. Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 10 cents, or 3.5%, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold rose $10.80 to $1,290.10 an ounce. Silver rose 20 cents, or 1.2%, to $17.07 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.90 a pound.
The dollar fell to 109.26 yen from 109.85 yen. The euro rose to $1.1774 from $1.1752.