NEW YORK CITY, RAW – Wall Street has ended sharply lower, led by the Nasdaq as investors worried about slowing global growth and a more aggressive Federal Reserve, and with Alphabet and Microsoft falling ahead of their quarterly reports to be released after the bell.
Tesla slumped as investors worried that chief executive Elon Musk might sell some of his stake in the electric car maker to help pay for his $US44 billion ($A61 billion) deal to buy Twitter, announced on Monday.
Tesla contributed more than any other stock to the S&P 500’s steep decline.
Previously-prized growth stocks have been hammered in recent weeks as investors fret about the impact of higher interest rates on their future earnings.
China’s COVID-19 led lockdown and an aggressive pivot by major central banks to fight inflation have overshadowed what has been a better-than-expected quarterly earnings season so far.
Alphabet Inc and Microsoft Corp each dropped ahead of their results after the closing bell.
About a third of the S&P 500 companies are set to report results this week.
Apple, Wall Street’s most valuable company, fell ahead of its report on Thursday.
“Earnings broadly have been pretty good. But it hasn’t really mattered very much to the overall stock story. It’s mainly about the Fed and other central banks, and now China and COVID,” said Ross Mayfield, an investment strategist at Baird in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I think with where the market is right now, in this indiscriminate selling and fear phase, I think you’ve got more potential for downside risk than you have for an upside surprise,” Mayfield said.
The S&P 500 consumer discretionary index was among the worst of 11 sector indexes, pulled lower by Tesla and also by a loss in Amazon.
The S&P 500 energy sector rose as oil prices rebounded following reports that Russian gas supplies to Poland were halted.
The United States and allies pledged new packages of ever heavier weapons for Ukraine during a meeting on Tuesday, brushing off a threat from Moscow officials that their support for Ukraine could lead to nuclear war.
The S&P 500 lost 120.42 points, or 2.80 per cent, to end at 4,176.03 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 513.03 points, or 3.93 per cent, to 12,493.71 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 808.75 points, or 2.38 per cent, to 33,240.71.
Of the 134 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings so far, 80.6 per cent topped analysts’ profit expectations, according to Refinitiv data.
In a typical quarter, 66 per cent beat estimates.
General Electric Co tumbled after forecasting full-year earnings at the low end of its previous estimate.
United Parcel Service Inc fell despite reporting a rise in quarterly adjusted profit while US hospital operator Universal Health Services Inc slumped after its earnings missed estimates.
Meanwhile, data showed US consumer confidence edged lower in April, though households planned to buy cars and many appliances, which should help underpin consumer spending in the second quarter.