Stocks fell on Friday as Wall Street wrapped up a volatile week of trading, with tech shares struggling and U.S.-China tensions rising.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 182.44 points, or 0.6%, to 26,469.89. The S&P 500 fell 0.6%, or 20.03 points, to 3,215.63, and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.9%, or 98.24 points, to 10,363.18.
Dow-component Intel plunged more than 16% after the chipmaker offered disappointing guidance for the third quarter and delayed the release of its next-generation chips.
The 30-stock benchmark dropped 0.7% for the week, snapping a three-week winning streak. The S&P 500 dipped 0.2% this week, posting its first weekly decline in four. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, lost 1.3% this week for its first back-to-back weekly losses since May.
“We’re living in this constant state of high volatility,” said Johan Grahn, head of ETF strategy at Allianz Investment Management. “We’re surrounded by this uncertainty, not just in markets, but also around every corner of everyday life.”
“It’s really hard to see this volatility and all the uncertainty that it implies go away anytime soon,” Grahn said.
The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) — seen by many investors as the best “fear gauge” on Wall Street — traded above 25 on Friday. Gold, meanwhile, surged to a record closing high, settling 0.4% higher at $1,897.50 per ounce.
Shares of Facebook, Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft all traded lower. Tesla dropped more than 6%. Amazon and Netflix bucked the negative trend, rising at east 0.6% each.
Big Tech has been the market leader this year as investors grappled with the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on corporate profits. Amazon and Netflix are up 62% and 48% year to date, respectively. Alphabet and Facebook are up over 12% each over that time.
This week, however, this group has struggled. Facebook dropped more than 4% this week and Apple shed 3.8%. Netflix slipped 2.5% during that time period. Microsoft and Alphabet are both down at least 0.5% this week.
“Concerns of another technology bubble are rising,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist/SunTrust Advisory, in a note. “There is also growing concentration risk, with the top five stocks now accounting for 22% of the S&P 500 Index.”
To be sure, Lerner noted that “conditions today are largely not comparable to the mania seen during the technology bubble of the late 90s.”
“Absolute valuations are elevated but are less than half of the levels reached back then. The rising influence of a small group of stocks is a risk for the overall market, though these same companies are also contributing an increasing amount of cash flow and profits,” he said.
This week’s volatile trading action comes amid rising tensions between China and the U.S. China ordered the closure of a U.S. consulate in Chengdu, retaliating after Washington shut the Chinese consulate in Houston earlier this week. China markets plunged in response, with the Shanghai Composite dropping 3.9% overnight.
Investors also fretted about the state of the economy during the coronavirus pandemic as jobless claims rose more than expected last week.
This is “no doubt sobering and a clear reminder that the pandemic is far from finished exacting its toll on our economy,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. “While we’re hanging on to hopes of a stimulus bill, Americans are feeling the pain of stalled reopenings and renewed shutdowns across the country.”
— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed reporting.
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