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Stock Drop Eases, Yen Slips as Investors Mull Tech


A sell-off in technology shares that began Monday in Asia and picked up pace in the U.S. began to ease Tuesday, as investors mull the potential for weaker earnings growth among companies that have led gains over the past year.

Stocks came off their lows of the day in Tokyo, and were up in Seoul Tuesday afternoon, while China’s markets were little changed as that nation wrapped up an annual meeting of its legislature. Investors may be less willing to make take big positions ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting Wednesday, where focus will be on whether policy makers signal an acceleration in interest-rate hikes. Also on the horizon are potential tariff announcements by the Trump administration on China. The yen slipped, while Treasuries were little changed.

Deepening concerns about privacy protection have spurred calls for executives from companies like Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to testify before Congress. The European Union has also been stepping up scrutiny of digital giants. On top of that, the tech sector — along with automobiles — would be among the most vulnerable to supply-chain disruptions from any trade war, as analyst said.

Even so, futures on the Nasdaq 100 were only down slightly as of Tuesday afternoon trading in Asia. Elsewhere, West Texas Intermediate oil prices climbed, and gold was little changed.

Next up is Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s first policy meeting at the helm of the central bank. Some on Wall Street expect the median projection of Fed officials to rise to four at Wednesday’s meeting, while others say there will be no change following a round of mediocre data and policy makers’ stated intentions to move gradually.

Here are some key calendar events coming up this week:

The Fed decision and Powell’s news conference come on Wednesday.

The Trump administration could impose tariffs on China as soon as this week.

The Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates and its asset-purchase program unchanged on Thursday. Attention will be on language and the odds for a May hike.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House this week as part of a U.S. visit.

Company earnings scheduled for this week include Tencent, FedEx, Porsche, Hermes, PetroChina and Nike.

And these are the main moves in markets:


Japan’s Topix index fell 0.2 percent and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.5 percent in Tokyo.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.4 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi index was up 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.2 percent.

Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were up 0.2 percent and Nasdaq contracts lost 0.1 percent.


The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose less than 0.1 percent.

The euro was steady at $1.2338.

The British pound was trading at $1.4031 after its biggest increase in almost eight weeks.

The yen fell 0.2 percent to 106.29 per dollar.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose less than one basis point to 2.86 percent.

Australia’s 10-year yield was little changed at 2.70 percent.


West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.8 percent to $62.58 a barrel.

Gold was little changed at $1,315.94 an ounce.

Source: Bloomberg