U.S. Stock ETFs Retreat, Extending Losses on Economic Concerns

U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds declined Friday, extending losses for a third day, as traders refocused on the coronavirus outbreak and an uneven economic recovery.

On Friday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) declined 2.6%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) was 1.3% lower and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) fell 1.7%.

High-growth technology shares that led the charge during the market rally were also among the heaviest hit as investors trimmed some of the most high-flying stocks.

“The acceleration of digital, virtual, and e-commerce trends has caused valuations in the tech sector to expand,” Thomas Mantione, managing director at UBS Private Wealth Management, told Reuters. “But as we’ve seen, the tech sector is not immune from the volatility that could be caused by the lack of fiscal policy response to COVID-19 and uncertainty surrounding the 2020 election.”

The markets earlier this week strengthened as investors looked to further support from the Federal Reserve, but losses piled on without additional details on any more Fed action. Furthermore, some even took the central bank’s more cautious tone as a signal of potential problems with the economic recovery.

Meanwhile, market volatility on Friday also spiked, but market observers attributed the swings to a quarterly expiration of U.S. stock options, stock index futures and index option contracts, known as “quadruple witching”.

“It is normally a day where you’re glued to your screen and you’re watching for volatility,” Altaf Kassam, head of investment strategy for State Street Global Advisors in Europe, told the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve had an abnormal amount of options on single stocks, so you might see some movement in single stocks.”

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are pushing for a bipartisan spending bill to avert a government shutdown next month while Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over the second coronavirus relief bill despite President Donald Trump’s interest in a new deal. The inaction has weighed on investment sentiment as many believed another relief package could lift consumer spending and bolster a slowing economic recovery.

For more information on the markets, visit our current affairs category.