U.S. stocks slumped on Wednesday, though they had come off their session lows, with technology leading the losses after industry heavyweight Microsoft’s guidance was met with concern.
By late afternoon, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP.IND) fell 0.70% to 11,254.88 points, while the benchmark S&P 500 (SP500) declined 0.41% to 4,000.55 points.
The Dow (DJI) was down by 0.28% to 33,640.14 points, with Boeing also dragging down the blue-chip index along with Microsoft.
All 11 S&P sectors were trading in the red, with the exception of Financials. Utilities and Communication Services led the losers.
Microsoft (MSFT) retreated as much as 4%, reversing gains made after hours on Tuesday. CFO Amy Hood on the conference call said that “moderating consumption growth” in the cloud business would likely extend into current fiscal Q3. MSFT said it anticipated quarterly revenue of $50.5B to $51.5B, about $1B below analysts’ expectations.
The slump in Microsoft’s shares and its cautious outlook on cloud weighed on other megacap technology companies, with Amazon (AMZN) falling 2%.
Earnings news continued to dominate headlines on Wednesday. Planemaker Boeing (BA) reported an unexpected loss, sending its shares down about 3%.
Stock exchange operator Nasdaq (NDAQ) was among the top percentage losers on the S&P 500 (SP500) after its quarterly results missed estimates. Renewable energy company NextEra (NEE) was also among the top S&P percentage losers after disappointing on sales. Meanwhile, investors cheered telecom giant AT&T’s (T) earnings.
All eyes will be on Tesla (TSLA), set to report after the closing the bell. IBM (IBM) is also on tap.
Turning to the bond market, rates were lower. The 10-year Treasury yield (US10Y) was down 2 basis points to 3.45%, while the 2-year yield (US2Y) was down 7 basis points to 4.14%.
“There’s been a little bit of a bias towards risk-off sentiment over the last 24 hours, thanks partly to some weaker-than-expected earnings releases that added to growing concerns about a potential US recession,” Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid wrote.
On the economic data front, the January State Street Investor Confidence Index came in slightly higher. Additionally, the January Survey of Business Uncertainty eased. Market participants will now be looking ahead to GDP data on Thursday.
Among other active stocks, News Corp. (NWS) rallied after Rupert Murdoch called off his plan to re-merge Fox and News Corp.