The technology sector continued its woes for the week, as stocks fell for the third consecutive day following the fallout from the testimony from representatives of tech giants Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday regarding their efforts to influence U.S. politics.
Facebook shares fell a further 2.8% and Twitter shares fell 5.9% on Thursday as congress continues to question to need for potential regulation in the industry. Despite the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq falling away for the third consecutive day, the Dow has marginally risen. The rise can be explained as 30 stock index isn’t as exposed to the so called FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) which have dominated the stock market this year. See below the chart of the Dow against the XLK Technology exchange trade fund, showing the difference in price action over the past couple of days.
On a brighter note, some of the more defensive sectors performed well on Thursday as the Telecom and Utilities S&P 500 sectors rose 0.73% and 0.39%, respectively. Over the past couple of day stocks like 3M +0.43% and Caterpillar Inc +0.68% have performed well as investors may have turned their attention away from tech stocks in a form of sector rotation towards more defensive plays. For the time being the technology may be too hot to handle, slowly sizzling down as traders take profits.
Oil prices pulled back on as US data showed US fuel stockpiles rose. WTI crude fell 1.3% to settle at $67.77 a barrel and Brent crude fell away 1% to trade at $76.50 a barrel. Following the pullback in oil prices we saw the Energy sector being the worst performer falling 1.93% and stock like Chevron -3.10% and ConocoPhillips -3.37%.
Notably, the semiconductors got smashed as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and an executive at KLA-Tencor issued demand warnings for the sector. It is reported if the US imposes the addition tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, Beijing will retaliate imposing their own measures impacting the semiconductors. Micro technology shares dropped 10 percent and Lam Research and Applied Materials fell 6.7 percent and 5.3 percent respectively.
In currency markets, the dollar edged lower as investors anticipated the jobs reports for August. The dollar index was down 0.13 percent at 95.061, while the dollar was 0.54 percent lower against the Japanese yen and fell 0.56 percent against the Swiss franc.
In economic data, US weekly jobless claims dropped 10,000 to a near 49-year low of 203,000 for the week ending September 1st. Economists had expected to the claim rising to 214,000. Furthermore, private payrolls increased by 163,000 jobs last month against the expected figure of 190,000 jobs. Tonight investors will be anticipating non-farm payrolls and the unemployment rate.