Highflying tech stocks run into wall, fall sharply Friday

Accounts of what spurred the decline in technology stocks ranged from bearish tweets by a short seller to a cautious note from Goldman Sachs Group.

A key stock market fault line buckled Friday as a group of highflying tech stocks that were fueling this year’s rally suddenly plunged.

So abrupt were the losses in companies from Facebook to Apple and Netflix to Nvidia that they pulled the Nasdaq 100 Index to its biggest decline relative to the Dow Jones industrial average since 2008. Accounts of what spurred it ranged from bearish tweets by a short seller to a cautious note from Goldman Sachs.

The reversal on an otherwise placid day was violent enough to spur soul-searching in bulls after a rally that had added more than $500 billion to the market value of Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Facebook in 2017.

How some Northwest tech stocks fared Friday

Impinj -13.2%

Micron Technology -5.7%

Tableau Software -4.6%

Expedia -3.8%

Amazon -3.2%

T-Mobile US -2.8%

Microsoft -2.3%

F5 Networks -1.2%

“The question is whether sentiment is shifting for the long term or just a temporary setback,” said Bill Schultz, who oversees $1.2 billion as chief investment officer of McQueen, Ball & Associates.

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Losses were significant. Even as the Dow eked out an 89-point gain Friday, the Nasdaq 100 slid 2.4 percent, trimming a decline that at one point reached 3.8 percent, the most in a year. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index slumped 4.3 percent and at one point was down 6.1 percent, the most since 2014.

Within the S&P 500, tech shares also trailed the full index by the most since 2008 as investors took profit in an industry whose gains this year through Thursday had almost tripled the S&P 500.

Traders cited a rotation out of technology and into banks and energy, the biggest losers in 2017, driving those groups up at least 1.9 percent.

Sentiment was…

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