By Caroline Valetkevitch
Sept 18 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell on Friday as technology shares sold off for a third day in a row, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted a third straight week of declines.
It was the first such weekly streak for the Nasdaq since August 2019.
Apple Inc AAPL.O, Microsoft Corp MSFT.O, Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O and Alphabet Inc, GOOGL.O which helped to fuel the rally off the March lows, were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
Friday marked the quarterly expiration of U.S. stock options, stock index futures and index option contracts, known as “quadruple witching.” The expirations tend to bring about increased trading volume at the market close and feed into market volatility.
Strategists said investors appeared to be continuing a recent rotation out of high-flying tech-related stocks and into other sectors.
“It looks to be sentiment driven and, to some extent, it appears to be rotational to us,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.
“We’re not sure this really indicates there’s a problem with economic growth, but rather, it’s some profit-taking, some adjustment and rotation” between sectors, he said. “You’re moving from the biggest weights in the market to the smallest weights.”
The S&P materials .SPLRCM is the best-performing sector so far this month, while heavily weighted S&P technology is the worst.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 249 points, or 0.89%, to 27,652.98, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 37.89 points, or 1.13%, to 3,319.12 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 118.00 points, or 1.08%, to 10,792.28.
Investors kept a close eye on rising coronavirus cases overseas. European countries from Denmark to Greece announced new restrictions on Friday to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities, while Britain was reported to be considering a new national lockdown.
Tesla rose as two analysts raised their price targets on the electric carmaker’s shares ahead of its highly anticipated “Battery Day” event next week.
(Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and David Gregorio)
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