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Wall St slides as megacap growth stocks drag on rate jitters


By Amruta Khandekar

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Friday, extending declines to the fourth session on a drag from megacap growth stocks, as evidence of a resilient U.S. economy fanned fears of interest rates staying higher for longer.

The three main U.S. stock indexes are on track for sharp weekly losses as a spate of strong economic data, including a fall in weekly jobless claims, caused investors to dial back expectations of rate cuts and drove up government bond yields.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note hit a ten-month high of 4.328% in the previous session and came within a whisker of its highest level since 2007. [US/]

“The drivers really have been of late the rising Treasury yields and that is signaling a more risk-off investor sentiment,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B Riley Wealth.

“Investors are looking at (better-than-expected economic data) and saying the Fed likely isn’t restrictive enough yet.”

Traders see a nearly 91% chance of the Fed holding rates at current levels at its September meeting, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

On Friday, rate-sensitive big technology and growth stocks such as Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Nvidia slipped between 0.7% and 2.8% even as Treasury yields took a breather.

The communication services and technology sectors housing major growth stocks fell 1.6% and 1.0% respectively.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq hit an over two-month low and is set to post the biggest weekly declines of the three major indices, down 3% so far.

The CBOE volatility index hit its highest in nearly three months, reflecting rising investor anxiety.

Risk sentiment has also been hurt in recent days by China’s sluggish economic recovery and growing concerns about its property market. U.S.-listed shares of Chinese companies JD.Com and Alibaba Group fell 5.1% and 3.5%, respectively.

Among major movers of the day, Estee Lauder lost 3.2% after the cosmetics maker forecast its annual net sales and profit below Street estimates.

Applied Materials rose 1.5% after the chip equipment maker forecast fourth-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates.

With no major economic data due on Friday, focus will now shift to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole economic symposium next week as well as earnings from chip designer Nvidia.

At 9:55 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 45.21 points, or 0.13%, at 34,429.62, the S&P 500 was down 18.06 points, or 0.41%, at 4,352.30, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 118.29 points, or 0.89%, at 13,198.64.

Hawaiian Electric shares jumped 6.6% after the utility firm sought expert advice amid growing scrutiny over its role in the Maui wildfires, but said that its goal was not to restructure the company.

Shares of cryptocurrency firms such as Coinbase Global, Bitfarms and Riot Platforms Inc fell between 2% and 5.5% as bitcoin hit a fresh two-month low.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.00-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 17 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 10 new highs and 146 new lows.

(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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