Tuesday 23 February 2021 12:06 pm

US tech sell-off continues as markets tumble for a second day

Markets in the United States tumbled today, as a tech stocks in the US were hammered by a sell-off.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.06 per cent at the open, the S&P 500 fell 0.5 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite took the biggest hit, dropping two per cent.

Large companies like Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet each lost ground today.

The stock price of Tesla in particular plummeted after the company recently bought $1.5bn of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s price has since fallen dramatically, and the Tesla’s share price has fallen 25 per cent from its peak.

Tesla’s fall also led Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to overtake Musk as the richest person in the world, again.

According to Think Markets market analyst Fawad Razaqzada, the weakness for technology shares could be short-lived, as dip buyers will be happy to get back in at relatively inexpensive levels again.

Elsewhere the FTSE 100 slipped after surging at this morning’s open despite optimism over Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” out of lockdown.

However, a grim set of jobs data overshadowed traders’ hopes that an end to the pandemic could finally be in sight.

London’s premier index was 0.3 per cent down by midday, having opened up 0.9 per cent.

The initial surge was led by travel stocks, mining firms, and hoteliers, which welcomed the prospect of an end to restrictions.

The same hopes also pushed sterling higher against the dollar again, with the $1.41 mark now in sight.

After picking up nearly 3.0 per cent in February due to optimism over the speed of the UK’s vaccination programme, cable is now at its highest level in three years.

British Airways owner IAG led the FTSE 100’s early risers, soaring 7.8 per cent on the news that international travel could be back by 17 May. However, this later fell away, with the airlines group now up 1.8 per cent.

Engineer Rolls-Royce, which provides jet engines for major airlines, held on to its gains better and is still up 5.2 per cent.

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But after an initially bright start, hotel chain Intercontinental slipped down after it booked a $153m loss.

After a similarly bold start, the FTSE 250 of mid cap firms did a better job of holding on to its gains. By midday, it was still up 0.4 per cent.

On the FTSE 250, Upper Crust owner SSP was by far the best performer, with shares up 15 per cent for the day.

Easyjet was also among the biggest winners, with shares rising 5.6 per cent. Fellow budget carriers Wizz Air and Tui were not far behind.

The fast start meant that the FTSE was outperforming its European rivals, with the French CAC down 0.3 per cent and the German DAX deep in the red.

It was also helped by a better-than-expected jobs report, with average earnings up and the number of benefits claimants down.

CMC Markets chief analyst Michael Hewson said: “It has been a positive start for markets in Europe this morning, with the FTSE 100 leading the way buoyed by outperformance in travel and leisure stocks as well as the basic resources sector, with commodity prices sitting at 8-year highs.

“Travel and leisure stocks are getting a lift this morning after yesterday’s announcement of a reopening schedule in the UK prompted a surge in holiday bookings, with EasyJet reporting a big jump in summer ticket sales, particularly in August, in the wake of last night’s announcement by Boris Johnson.”