Wall Street ends down for third day as growth concerns weigh on tech

Wall Street ends down for third day as growth concerns weigh on tech

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Tech stocks down in aftermath of Fed's latest rate move

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Investors concerned about possibility of recession

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Darden Restaurants falls on downbeat quarterly sales

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JetBlue posts lowest close since March 2020

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Indexes down: Dow 0.35%, S&P 0.84%, Nasdaq 1.37%

By David French

Sept 22 (Reuters) -

Major Wall Street indexes ended lower on Thursday, falling for a third straight session as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's latest aggressive move to rein in inflation by selling growth stocks, including technology companies.

The Fed lifted rates by an expected 75 basis points on Wednesday and signaled a longer trajectory for policy rates than markets had priced in, fuelling fears of further volatility in stock and bond trading in a year that has already seen bear markets in both asset classes.

The U.S. central bank's projections for economic growth released on Wednesday were also eye-catching, with growth of just 0.2% this year, rising to 1.2% for 2023.

Jitters were already present in the market after a number of companies - most recently FedEx Corp FDX.N and Ford Motor Co F.N - issued dire outlooks for earnings.

As of Friday, the S&P 500's estimated earnings growth for the third quarter is at 5%, according to Refinitiv data. Excluding the energy sector, the growth rate is at -1.7%.

The S&P 500's forward price-to-earnings ratio, a common metric for valuing stocks, is at 16.8 times earnings - far below the nearly 22 times forward P/E that stocks commanded at the start of the year.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors fell, led by declines of 2.2% and 1.7%, respectively, in consumer discretionary .SPLRCD and financial .SPSY stocks.

Shares of megacap technology and growth companies such as Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O , Tesla Inc TSLA.O and Nvidia Corp NVDA.O fell between 1% and 5.3% as benchmark U.S. Treasury yields hit an 11-year high.

Rising yields weigh particularly on valuations of companies in the technology sector, which have high expected future earnings and form a significant part of the market-cap weighted indexes such as the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 tech sector .SPLRCT has slumped 28% so far this year, compared with a 21.2% decline in the benchmark index.

"If we continue to have sticky inflation, and if (Fed Chair Jerome) Powell sticks to his guns as he indicates, I think we enter recession and we see significant drawdown on earnings expectations," said Mike Mullaney, director of global markets at Boston Partners.

"If this happens, I have high conviction under those conditions that we break 3,636," he added, referring to the S&P 500's mid-June low, its weakest point of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 107.1 points, or 0.35%, to 30,076.68, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 31.94 points, or 0.84%, to 3,757.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 153.39 points, or 1.37%, to 11,066.81.

Major U.S. airlines - which have enjoyed a rebound amid increased travel as pandemic restrictions end - were also down, with United Airlines UAL.O and American Airlines AAL.O falling 4.6% and 3.9% respectively. This took losses in the last three days to 11% for United and 10.6% for American.

JetBlue Airways Corp JBLU.O , off 7.1% and also recording a third straight loss, closed at its lowest level since March 2020.

Darden Restaurants Inc DRI.N slid 4.4% after the Olive Garden parent reported downbeat first-quarter sales.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.39 billion shares, compared with the 10.91 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 123 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 18 new highs and 699 new lows.



S&P 500 Forward PE Link



Reporting by Sruthi Shankar, Medha Singh, Devik Jain and
Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Editing
by Shounak Dasgupta, Anil D'Silva and Deepa Babington