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Nasdaq headed for worst week in a year as tech stocks drop

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Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar
·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in the Manhattan borough of New York City
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By Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks slumped in volatile trading on Friday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq heading for its worst week since March 2020, as fears over rising borrowing costs offset optimism about a strong economic rebound following blowout monthly jobs report.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields hit a new one-year high of 1.626% after nonfarm payrolls increased by 379,000 jobs last month, blowing past a rise of 182,000 forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

The three major indexes gained in early session on prospects of an improving economic outlook.

"Investors are still trying to figure what they want in a battle between continued easy fiscal policies or an actual economical recovery which would require higher rates and they haven't made that decision yet," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

The Russell 1000 value index, which is heavily comprised of cyclical stocks such as financials and energy, outperformed with its 0.3% drop versus the tech-heavy Russell 1000 growth index, which shed 1.7%.

Focus is also on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill, as a sharply divided U.S. Senate began what was expected to be a long debate over a slew of amendments on how that money would be spent.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are headed for their third straight weekly decline as a recent spike in Treasury yields dented demand for high-flying technology stocks.

Rising interest rates disproportionately hurt high-growth tech companies because investors value them based on earnings expected years into the future, and high interest rates hurt the value of future earnings more than the value of earnings made in the short term.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is about 11% below its Feb. 12 closing high. If the index closes 10% below that level, it would confirm a correction.

At 11:42 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 124.21 points, or 0.40%, to 30,799.93 and the S&P 500 lost 27.94 points, or 0.74%, to 3,740.53.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 241.64 points, or 1.90%, to 12,480.41, weighed down by a near 10% fall in Tesla Inc's shares that sent them to three-month lows.

The FAANG + TM which constitutes the core FANG group, has wiped about almost $900 billion in market value since its peak on Feb. 16.

Energy stocks were in a bright spot, climbing for the third straight day to a new one-year high as oil prices soared.

Oracle Corp jumped about 6% after Barclays upgraded the business software maker to "overweight" expecting improvement in the IT spending environment.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.5-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 52 new lows.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by Maju Samuel)