Wall Street stocks have been choppy as investors ponder US monetary policy
New York - AFP
Wall Street stocks tumbled Tuesday, snapping a two-day winning streak to close the first quarter on a sour note as volatility in equity markets stays high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 200.19 points (1.11 percent) to 17,776.12.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 18.35 (0.88 percent) to 2,067.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 46.56 (0.94 percent) to 4,900.88.
US stocks have been choppy as investors ponder US monetary policy, Greece's prospects for staying in the eurozone and the big drop in oil prices.
"We're seeing an increase in volatility. Investors have a lot of questions," said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management.
Data Tuesday showed a gain in consumer confidence in March and a modest year-on-year rise in US home prices in January.
Biotech stocks, which have been seen by some analysts as overvalued, fell sharply. Biogen lost 2.2 percent, Celgene fell 4.0 percent and Gilead Sciences declined 2.5 percent.
Tech stocks that fell included Apple (-1.5 percent), Facebook (-1.2 percent) and Netflix (-1.4 percent).
Cable TV operator Charter Communications bolted 5.3 percent higher after announcing it would buy Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion in cash and shares, bringing it an additional two million customers in Florida as well as four other US states.
Johnson Controls gained 1.2 percent on news it reached a deal to sell a unit specializing in workplace efficiency to the CBRE Group for $1.5 billion. CBRE jumped 6.3 percent.
Tobacco companies Reynolds American and Lorillard fell on reports saying their merger could be blocked by US antitrust regulators. Lorillard lost 1.6 percent and Reynolds shed 0.8 percent.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.93 percent from 1.96 percent, while the 30-year dipped to 2.54 percent from 2.55 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.