Wall Street nosedives on tech selloff, trade fears

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 26

The weakness in U.S. stocks comes on the eve of the corporate profit reporting season, which is expected to be strong.

Companies that pay hefty dividends, such as utilities and real estate investment trusts, lagged the rest of the market. "It's the start of negotiations", Vincent Reinhart, chief economist and macro strategist at BNY Mellon AMNA, told Richard Quest on CNNMoney's "Markets Now".

"... That's happening again today as market participants are thinking, 'Is this the change in leadership and what should we do about it?'" But the S&P 500 climbed to a gain of 1.1%, and the Nasdaq finished up 1.4%. Thus, despite the market's decline, there may be some silver linings under the surface.

"The kneejerk reaction reflects undefined fears rather than careful assessment of the economic impact of tariffs, or the likelihood that they will stick".

Check out Serge Berger's Trade of the Day for April 5. "The fundamentals have not changed", Stovall said.

Facebook (FB.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Netflix (NFLX.O) - collectively known as the "FANG" group - were up between 1 percent and 3 percent.

General Nutrition Corp.(GNC) traded flat after the vitamin retailer said it would expand into Australia in a partnership (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gnc-shares-jump-59-after-company-unveils-plans-to-expand-into-australia-2018-04-05) with Australian health products distributor, Rapid Nutrition.

Since early February, the S&P 500 has moved 1.7 percentage points from its low to its high on the typical day.

Construction equipment maker Caterpillar, which made a small gain Wednesday, rose another $2.95, or 2 percent, to $148.13. Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.5 percent and South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.2 percent Markets in Hong Kong were closed for holidays.

Trump, in a statement, said he proposed the additional tariffs "in light of China's unfair retaliation" against earlier U.S. actions that included $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods.

Shares of Boeing, the single largest US exporter to China, tumbled 4 percent. Since the stock market started its run of volatility on Feb. 2, the S&P 500 has lost an average of 0.15 percent during that half hour. Analysts expect the Boise, Idaho, company to post a 75% increase in earnings to $2.84 a share in the first quarter. Not so well! The Dow Jones plunged more than 350 points, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite falling 1.2 percent each.

"Tesla is a high-flying growth name and growth names are getting slaughtered in the past month or so". All components of the Philadelphia chipmakers index were lower, led by AMD's 5 percent drop.

"Everyone knows what goes on in Washington can flip-flop on a day-to-day basis".

China's envoy to the WTO said Beijing would challenge the U.S. moves.

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