Business

Tech stocks lead worst fall for US market since May

Tensions between the United States and North Korea put investors in a selling mood again Thursday, dragging US stocks lower for the third day in a row.

The latest sell-off was the most severe yet, amounting to the biggest single-day drop for the stock market since May 17.

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Technology companies, which have been the biggest gainers this year as the market hit a succession of record highs, led the broad slide. Banks and department store shares also were among the big decliners. Utilities eked out a small gain.

‘‘The market has been looking for an excuse to sell off and North Korea and the president gave the market that excuse,’’ said David Schiegoleit, managing director at US Bank Private Client Wealth Management. ‘‘As long as it doesn’t go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived.’’

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 1.5 percent to 2,438.21. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.9 percent, to 21,844.01, just shy of its low point for the day.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite bore the brunt of the sell-off, losing 2.1 percent to 6,216.87.

Smaller-company stocks also fell sharply. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.8 percent to 1,372.54. All the indexes are down for the week.

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Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.20 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, rose 44.4 percent, the biggest increase since May.

The market jitters gave investors an opportunity to pocket some of their recent gains following a string of record highs fueled by strong corporate earnings.

Heading into Thursday, some 89 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported quarterly results. Of those, 52 percent delivered earnings and revenue that beat financial analysts’ forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Technology stocks, the biggest gainers this year, led Thursday’s market slide.

Nvidia fell 4.3 percent, while Advanced Micro Devices gave up 5.5 percent.

Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market. Bank of New York Mellon slid 3.9 percent, while Citizens Financial Group shed 3.8 percent.

Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market.

Macy’s tumbled 10.2 percent after its sales continued to decline in the second quarter. Dillard’s slumped 15.9 percent after the chain booked a loss for the quarter as increased inventory led to big discounts. Kohl’s fell 5.8 percent.

Blue Apron slumped 17.6 percent after the meal kit seller reported a sequential decline in customers in the second quarter due to a planned reduction in marketing. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth.

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