The retreat in US stocks followed dreary action in most overseas markets
New York - AFP
US stocks fell sharply Friday, with the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sinking more than two percent following a gloomy outlook from a leading semiconductor company.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 115.15 points (0.69 percent) to 16,544.10, erasing the blue-chip index's gains for 2014.
The broad-based S&P 500 tumbled 22.08 (1.15 percent) to 1,906.13, while the Nasdaq slumped 102.10 (2.33 percent) to 4,276.24.
The retreat in US stocks followed dreary action in most overseas markets amid anxiety over global growth, as the German DAX slumped 2.4 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 1.6 percent.
Microchip Technology, whose semiconductors are used in electronics products, sank 12.3 percent after it slashed its revenue forecast for the upcoming quarter, due in part to poor performance in China.
The firm's chief executive, Steve Sanghi, said the decline is part of a correction that "will be seen more broadly across the industry in the near future."
Other semiconductor stocks suffered big drops, including Micron Technology (-9.3 percent), Texas Instruments (-7.1 percent) and STMicroelectronics (-5.8 percent).
Caught in the downdraft were other technology stocks, including Twitter (-8.8 percent), Tesla Motors (-7.8 percent) and Dow member Microsoft and Facebook (both -4.0 percent.)
Oil services stocks fell as low oil prices spurred concerns of a cutback in petroleum industry capital spending. Halliburton fell 5.2 percent, Schlumberger shed 2.0 percent and Weatherford International lost 2.4 percent.
Some consumer staples equities outperformed the broader market, including Dow member Procter & Gamble (+1.2 percent), Colgate-Palmolive (+0.1 percent) and Kimberly-Clark (unchanged). Wal-Mart Stores rose 0.6 percent.
Darden Restaurants, owner of the Olive Garden and other chains, fell 1.8 percent after shareholders elected a slate of 12 directors proposed by activist fund Starboard Value.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.31 percent from 2.33 percent Thursday, while the 30-year dropped to 3.04 percent from 3.06 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.