Stocks fall as volatility hits Wall Street; oil drops

<p><p>NEW YORK — Stocks fell in morning trading Wednesday as Wall Street undergoes a bout of volatility, driven in part by big swings in technology companies.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 fell 0.8% as of 11:26 a.m. Eastern after falling 1% earlier.</p></p><p><p>Roughly 85% of stocks within the benchmark index fell and it has alternated between gains and losses of more than 1% the past four days.</p></p><p><p>The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 332 points, or 1%, to 3,981 and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%.</p></p><p><p>A measure of small-company stocks that helps gauge confidence in economic growth fell more than the major indexes. The Russell 2000 fell 1.6%.</p></p><p><p>Technology stocks have swung between gains and losses as investors reassess whether stocks have grown too expensive, particularly high-priced technology companies. Cisco Systems fell 1.9% and Apple fell 0.7%.</p></p><p><p>The volatility in the market comes as investors try to gauge the economy’s path forward amid rising inflation and the ongoing impact from the virus pandemic.</p></p><p><p>Bond yields have remained relatively stable after a sharp jump in late September that signaled concern that high inflation could linger longer than economists and investors had initially anticipated.</p></p><p><p>The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.51% from 1.53% late Tuesday. It was as low as 1.32% a little more than two weeks ago.</p></p><p><p>The drop in bond yields weighed on banks, which rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. Bank of America fell 1.1%.</p></p><p><p>Energy prices are retreating after a strong rally that contributed to inflation fears. U.S. crude oil fell 1.8% and natural gas fell 7.4%. The drop weighed on energy companies. Exxon Mobil fell 2.6%.</p></p><p><p>International markets also sold off, with exchanges in Japan, South Korea, Germany and France all dropping more than 1%.</p></p><p><p>Investors will get a closer look at how companies fared in the third quarter when companies release their quarterly financial results in the coming weeks.</p></p><p><p>Wall Street is expecting solid profit growth of 27% for S&amp;P 500 companies, but will also be listening for commentary on how supply chain problems and higher costs are crimping operations.</p></p><p><p>Companies from a wide range of industries have issued warnings about supply chain problems, shipping delays and higher materials costs.</p></p><p><p>Some companies are growing more <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-business-china-toys-f6283aba74905a5dfc83f8841210700b” target=”—blank”>concerned that the problem could stretch into the holiday shopping season</a> that typically starts in late November.</p></p><p><p>Toy companies are racing to get their products to retailers as they grapple with a severe supply chain crunch that could mean sparse shelves for the crucial holidays.</p></p><p><p>Homebuilder Hovnanian slumped 14.5% after warning investors that supply shortages will hurt its finances.</p></p><p><p>Lighting maker Acuity Brands jumped 11.4% after handily beating analysts’ fiscal fourth-quarter profit forecasts.</p></p><p><p>On Friday, the Labor Department will release its anticipated employment report for September.</p></p><p><p>The labor market has been slow to fully recover from the pandemic and the summer surge in COVID-19 cases further impeded its progress.</p></p>