Nasdaq falls as weak Big Tech earnings fan growth concerns; Visa buoys Dow

By Amruta Khandekar and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – The Nasdaq index fell on Wednesday as disappointing results and warnings from Microsoft and Alphabet sparked losses in megacap companies and raised fears of slowing economic growth, while an upbeat earnings report from Visa kept the Dow afloat.

Microsoft Corp posted its lowest sales growth in five years and forecast second-quarter revenue below Wall Street estimates, while Alphabet reported downbeat ad sales and warned of a slowdown in advertising spending.

Shares of both companies fell about 7.5% each, dragging down Amazon.com and Apple, which are scheduled to report results later this week. They were down 4.0% and 1.3%, respectively.

“Microsoft results point to this idea that corporate IT budgets are coming under pressure and Alphabet missing estimates speaks to perhaps a consumer that is potentially running out of steam and both point to a slowing economy,” said Josh Wein, portfolio manager at Hennessy Funds.

Shares of ad revenue dependent social media firms Meta Platforms fell 3.4%, while Pinterest dropped 1%.

U.S.-listed shares of Spotify Technology lost 7.0% as margins came under pressure from a slowdown in ad growth, while Texas Instruments fell 3.9% after the chipmaker gave a bleak fourth-quarter outlook on lower demand.

The extensive weakness in the tech sector comes despite a drop in the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield, which fell for the second straight day on rising bets over a slowdown in the pace of interest-rate hikes. [US/]

Expectations of a less-hawkish Federal Reserve have helped Wall Street’s main indexes notch three straight sessions of gains, but downbeat earnings and forecasts suggested the Fed’s rapid interest rate hikes are slowing the economy.

The U.S. central bank is expected to deliver its fourth 75 basis-point hike in its Nov. 1-2 policy meeting against the backdrop of recent data pointing to economic softness.

“I don’t see this Fed as one that’s going to look at one data point and say we’re getting close to the end, so 75 bps is probably baked in for December,” Wein said.

Analysts have set the bar low for third-quarter reporting season, with aggregate S&P 500 earnings growth seen at 3.3% year-on-year, down from 4.5% at the start of the month, according to Refinitiv data.

At 10:01 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 124.32 points, or 0.39%, at 31,961.06, the S&P 500 was down 13.71 points, or 0.36%, at 3,845.40, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 149.98 points, or 1.34%, at 11,049.14.

Visa Inc jumped 5%, boosting the Dow, after the payments processor topped quarterly profit estimates on strong travel demand.

Boeing Co reversed early losses and was last up 1.3%. Its chief executive officer said he is confident that the planemaker will get an extension from U.S. Congress of a key deadline to get the MAX 7 and MAX 10 certified.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.05-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.87-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and 24 new lows.

(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Arun Koyyur and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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