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Here’s Why the Dow Jones Tanked for a 2nd Straight Day

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:08 PM
Francois Aure
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:08 PM
  • The Dow Jones suffered a second straight loss on Friday.
  • Tech stocks tumbled as another day passed without a congressional agreement on new stimulus.
  • U.S. housing market data continues to represent a bright spot in the economy.

The Dow Jones tumbled for a second straight day as the massive sell-off in tech stocks continued unabated.

Less than an hour before the closing bell, the Dow had careened 174 points lower. The 0.65% pullback slammed the index down to 26,478.33.

The S&P 500 fell 0.71% to 3,213.04, and the Nasdaq plunged 0.94% to 10,362.91.

Dow Jones Falls as Sentiment Sours on Wall Street

Dow Jones, stock market,
The Dow Jones fell more than 150 points on Friday as the next stimulus bill stalled in Congress. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

Economic data is confirming what analysts feared would be the case if the U.S. failed to get the pandemic under control.

While European PMI releases all beat expectations  this morning, U.S. data underperformed this week in virtually every area but the housing market.

A weaker U.S. dollar was the result, but even this failed to spur a rally among the multinational companies in the Dow 30.

The collapse in sentiment appears to stem from two essential fundamentals.

Tech Stocks Continue to Suffer

First, the extraordinary outperformance of mega-cap tech stocks  has begun to reverse quite drastically.

Electric carmaker Tesla seems to be a bellwether for risk, given its incredible performance over the last few months. TSLA is plunging this week, and the rest of the Nasdaq is going with it.

While the Dow is not typically thought of as a tech-heavy benchmark, Apple and Microsoft collectively hold a nearly 15% weighting  in the index.

Congress Drags Its Feet on Stimulus

A less technical reason for plunging sentiment is the anticipated expiration of the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit.

This and other stimulus measures have helped keep lower-income households afloat – and in many cases, better off than before the pandemic.

With this benefit likely set to at least halve, the sentiment bubble in retail may be about to hit a wall.

Congress looks to principally be planning on additional small business funding and a second round of direct payments . Stock market bulls don’t appear too enthused.

A shaky few days on Wall Street could potentially pressure Republican politicians into some more decisive action.

In the background, a horrendous poll from Florida – a key swing stage – is a lurking concern for Wall Street as Donald Trump struggles against Joe Biden in the Sunshine State .

ING: U.S. Housing Market Will Support Q3 GDP

One bright spot for the economy remains the U.S. housing market.

Strong data continues to support the outlook, and economists at ING believe the housing rebound should filter through the economy in the short-term.

They say this will elevate the upcoming quarterly GDP reading:

A strong housing market boosts demand elsewhere in the economy. Housing transactions are strongly correlated to retail sales – as people move to a new home they typically spend money on new furniture and home furnishings, garden equipment and building supplies such as a new paint job and a bit of home improvement. It also results in demand for moving services while generating legal and mortgage fees within the service sector, which should also all help boost 3Q GDP.

Dow 30: Intel Crashes 16% After Earnings Beat

The tech sector led the Dow 30 lower on Friday. Jaded shareholders sent Intel stock a staggering 16% into the red.

Intel’s earnings beat estimates, but this failed to overcome the damage from delaying the release of their next-generation chips.  Weak forward guidance gave shareholders another reason to sell.

Intel barely accounts for 1.5% of the Dow Jones index, but heavyweight stocks Apple and Microsoft struggled too. AAPL shares edged around 0.2% lower, while MSFT dipped 0.35%.

Following a strong run, Pfizer stock slid more than 2.1% amid questions about the true economic benefits  of a vaccine.

Disney stock fell 1% because the U.S. virus statistics continue to point to a drawn-out fight. As long as that’s the status quo, its cash-cow parks and movie segments remain under constant pressure.

On the opposite side of the ledger, Verizon stock rose 1.55%, while Caterpillar shares traded 1% higher.