On Wednesday, U.S. stocks were down sharply. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 525 points (-1.92%) to 26763, the S&P 500 tumbled 78 points (-2.37%) to 3236, and the Nasdaq 100 plummeted 353 points (-3.16%) to 10833.
Nasdaq 100 Index: Daily Chart
Shares of technology giants – Facebook (FB -2.25%), Apple (AAPL -4.19%), Amazon.com (AMZN -4.13%), Netflix (NFLX -4.19%), Alphabet (GOOG -3.43%), Microsoft (MSFT -3.29%) and Tesla (TSLA -10.34%) – lost big. The U.S. Department of Justice proposed to Congress a new law that would make major Internet firms liable for the way they moderate content.
Energy (-4.55%), Technology Hardware & Equipment (-3.75%) and Retailing (-3.22%) sectors performed the worst. Albemarle Corp (ALB -15.56%), Apache Corp (APA -9.31%) and Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC -7.44%) top losers. On the other hand, Nike (NKE +8.76%), Western Digital (WDC +6.72%) and Twitter (TWTR +6.08%) were top gainers.
Approximately 58% (56% in the prior session) of stocks in the S&P 500 Index were trading above their 200-day moving average and 21% (14% in the prior session) were trading above their 20-day moving average.
Regarding U.S. economic data, the Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (preliminary reading) increased to 53.5 in September from 53.1 in August.
European stocks were broadly higher. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.55%, Germany’s DAX 30 advanced 0.39%, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.20%, and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.62%.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield settled little changed at 0.670%.
Spot gold plunged $36 to $1,863 an ounce extending its decline to a third session. Spot silver shed 6.6% to $22.77 an ounce.
U.S. WTI crude oil futures (November) added 0.3% to $39.93 a barrel. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles fell 1.60 million barrels last week (-2.47 million barrels expected) to 494 million barrels, the lowest total since early April.
On the forex front, the U.S. dollar strengthened against its major peers, with the ICE Dollar Index climbing 0.4% on day to 94.34, up for a third straight session.
EUR/USD lost 0.4% to 1.1656, the lowest level since July 26. Research firm Markit reported that the eurozone’s Manufacturing PMI rose to 53.7 in September (51.9 expected) from 51.7 in August while Services PMI fell to 47.6 (50.6 expected) from 50.5. Later today, Germany’s IFO Business Climate Index (93.8 expected) for September will be released.
GBP/USD slipped 0.1% to 1.2716, posting a four-day decline. The Markit U.K. Manufacturing PMI slid to 45.3 in September (54.0 expected) from 55.2 in August and Services PMI dropped to 55.1 (56.0 expected) from 58.8.
USD/JPY advanced 0.4% to 105.35.
NZD/USD plunged 1.4% to 0.6543. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.25% as expected. However, RBNZ said “further monetary stimulus may be needed”, citing “a severe and prolonged economic downturn”.
Meanwhile, AUD/USD slumped 1.5% to 0.7067. Government data showed that Australia’s preliminary retail sales dropped 4.2% on month August (+3.2% in June).