New York Report: Technology and biotech stocks drag on market

US STOCKS fell yesterday, with some of the market’s recent best performers like technology and biotech shares leading the way down.

Concerns that the crisis in Ukraine could escalate gave investors a reason to drop some of the market’s biggest trading favourites. The Nasdaq fell below its 50-day moving average earlier, in a sign of weakening near-term momentum.

Netflix tumbled 6.7 per cent to close at $378.90, with fellow Internet names Facebook down 4.7 per cent at $64.10 and TripAdvisor down 3.9 per cent at $97.58. All three had sharp gains in 2013.

The Nasdaq biotechnology index, which jumped 66 per cent last year, fell three per cent in its fourth straight daily decline. Over those four sessions, the biotech index slid nine per cent. On Friday, the index marked its worst day since October 2011.

Ukraine announced the evacuation of its troops from Crimea, essentially yielding the region to Russian forces, which seized a Ukrainian marine base. While few US companies have excessive exposure to the region, investors are concerned about the potential economic fallout from any escalation in tensions. US President Barack Obama began crisis talks with his European allies over how to respond in the biggest East-West conflict since the Cold War.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 26.08 points or 0.16 per cent, to end at 16,276.69. The S&P 500 dropped 9.08 points or 0.49 per cent, to finish at 1,857.44. The Nasdaq Composite slid 50.403 points or 1.18 per cent, to close at 4,226.385.