Stocks Fall on Wall Street as Big Tech Companies Slip

February 02, 2022
Stocks Fall on Wall Street as Big Tech Companies Slip

Stocks edged lower in morning trading on Wall Street Tuesday as the market comes off its worst month since early in the pandemic nearly two years ago.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% as of 10:16 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31 points, or 0.1%, to 35,100 and the Nasdaq fell 0.7%.

Technology stocks were the biggest weight on market. Apple fell 1.1% and Microsoft fell 1.3%. The sector has been particularly sensitive to concerns about rising interest rates this year. Higher interest rates tend to make pricey growth stocks, like big tech companies, less attractive for investors.

Industrial stocks made solid gains, led by a 12.3% surge in UPS after the package delivery service reported far better results than analysts were expecting. Rival FedEx rose 4%.

Banks also gained ground as bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which is used to set rates on home mortgages and many other kinds of loans, rose to 1.81% from 1.77% late Monday. Bank of America rose 1%.

Stocks have been in a slump so far this year as investors get hit with a long list of threats to economic growth and the markets.

The economic recovery is being threatened by persistently rising inflation that has raised costs for businesses and consumers. The big fear is that higher prices being passed off to consumers will eventually curtail spending and crimp economic growth.

The Federal Reserve is shifting monetary policy and plans on raising interest rates to fight rising inflation, which will affect investments and stock prices. Ultra-low rates and other stimuli helped markets recover from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic and then supported stunning gains. Investors expect the Fed to start raising interest rates in March, but there is much uncertainty about how sharply and how quickly the Fed will move throughout the year.

The virus pandemic is still a lingering threat and each new variant could bring a surge of cases that threatens businesses and consumer activity.

Investors are reviewing the latest round of earnings, in part to see how inflation, the virus pandemic, and other factors are impacting businesses and their operations moving forward.

Exxon Mobil rose 5.2% after reporting a surprisingly good profit in its fourth quarter as oil demand continues to improve.