After mixed-to-lower action on Monday, the overall market sell-off continued on Tuesday, as tech stocks dominated early action.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.55%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.5%, while the S&P 500 tumbled over 1.13% Tuesday.
Major stock ETFs are declining on Tuesday as well. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) are all broadly lower just after 12:30 PM EST.
“What started in technology earlier this month has finally moved over to the broader markets,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. “Although we are coming off a record earnings season, continued supply chain and labor shortages are adding to potential inflationary pressures.”
After a period of enduring complacency, the CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of fear in the markets based on option prices on the S&P 500, surged as high as 23.73, to levels not seen since March. A rising VIX is often accompanied by falling markets, and a score above 20 can indicate a protracted period of declines.
Famous investor and hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller offered investors words of caution as well, stating that while he was not completely out of stocks, they were in a “raging mania” and that the Fed and U.S. government might be endangering the U.S. dollar’s reserve status by providing too much stimulus into an already surging economy.
“I can’t find any period in history where monetary and fiscal policy were this out of step with the economic circumstances, not one,” Druckenmiller said. “If they want to do all this and risk our reserve currency status, risk an asset bubble blowing up, so be it. But I think we ought to at least have a conversation about it.”
Tech shares, which led stocks off the pandemic lows in February 2020, saw waning investor support this year as inflation and higher interest rates continued. The Nasdaq was blasted on Monday, losing as much as 2.5%.
Investors are also weighing coronavirus concerns, amid news that the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, described the situation in India on Tuesday as “very worrying.”
Also Monday, the WHO designated the variant sweeping through much of India as a more harmful “variant of concern” that is believed to be more transmissible and possibly more resistant to antibodies.
Economic data is also contributing to the sell-off, as news includes a labor shortage as well as a pop in Consumer Price Index in March, which fueled inflation worries and drove bonds lower as well.
Meanwhile, job openings reached a record high in March as employers struggled to find workers to fill many positions, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Even as employers sought help, hires rose just 215,000, or 3.7%, to just over 6 million.
“When valuations remain high, even factoring in yesterday’s and today’s selling, the promise of rock bottom interest rates fades as the market questions the strong job openings report against the availability of labor and the need to boost wages to fill the positions, not to mention concerns that fiscal largesse is keeping workers from moving back into the labor force,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist for Prudential Financial.
The S&P 500 has now fallen over 3% from its all-time high on Monday, breaking the lows from last month, as stocks attempt to avoid a big-picture decline.
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