Nasdaq gains ground as tech stocks recover some losses

NEW YORK/BENGALURU (Feb 26): The tech-heavy Nasdaq clawed back some losses on Friday, rebounding from its worst day in four months even as sentiment remained fragile, with fears of a rise in inflation keeping US bond yields near a one-year high.

Shares of Apple Inc, Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc edged up between 1.1% and 2.6%, but were headed for their worst week in months.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield eased to 1.478%, after jumping 1.614% overnight, roiling stock markets. Wall Street’s fear gauge hovered at a one-month high.

“If the interest rates level out here and they stop rising it’s going to be fine but if the trajectory of rates continues to rise at the same rate that creates a problem,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group.

“This is more of a temporary blip in my opinion on people thinking that there’s going to be some inflationary spike.”

The major averages were knocked off their all-time highs last week, after a sharp rise in US Treasury yields triggered a selloff in some of the mega-cap technology stocks.

Tech stocks are particularly sensitive to rising yields because their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when bond returns go up.

The Dow is poised for its best month since November 2020 as investors bought into cyclical companies set to benefit from an economic reopening, while the Nasdaq is still up 2% for the month despite the recent rout.

Financials and energy shares, the best performing S&P sectors this month, slipped about 0.2% and 1% on Friday. Technology stocks rose 0.6% and semiconductor stocks advanced about 1%.

The S&P 500 value index dropped 0.6%, while the growth index jumped about 1% in a reversal of this month’s trend.

At 12:31 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 130.05 points or 0.41% to 31,271.96, the S&P 500 gained 26.81 points or 0.70% to 3,856.15, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 226.86 points or 1.73% to 13,346.29.

Latest data showed US consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in January but price pressures remained muted.

Stimulus will be back in focus as the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives aims to pass President Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill on Friday, in what would be the first major legislative victory of his presidency. Inc dropped 4.6%, as the online software company forecast full-year profit below market expectations.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.6-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 42 new highs and 116 new lows.

By The Edge Markets