U.S. stocks on Wednesday began the day deep in negative territory, with technology leading the losses after industry heavyweight Microsoft’s guidance was met with concern. All three major indices have since pushed upward through the session.
Into the final hour of trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP.IND) fell 0.33% to 11,296.90 points, having fallen more than 2% earlier. The benchmark S&P 500 (SP500) declined 0.19% to 4,009.32 points.
The Dow (DJI) was down by 0.10% to 33,699.34 points. Boeing had also dragged down the blue-chip index earlier, along with Microsoft.
Of the 11 S&P sectors, only six were now trading in the red, led by Utilities and Industrials. Financials and Consumer Discretionary gained the most.
Microsoft (MSFT) retreated as much as 4%, reversing gains made after hours on Tuesday. CFO Amy Hood on the conference call said that “moderating consumption growth” in the cloud business would likely extend into current fiscal Q3. MSFT said it anticipated quarterly revenue of $50.5B to $51.5B, about $1B below analysts’ expectations.
The slump in Microsoft’s shares and its cautious outlook on cloud weighed on other megacap technology companies, with Amazon (AMZN) falling 2%.
Stock exchange operator Nasdaq (NDAQ) was among the top percentage losers on the S&P 500 (SP500) after its quarterly results missed estimates. Renewable energy company NextEra (NEE) was also among the top S&P percentage losers after disappointing on sales. Meanwhile, investors cheered telecom giant AT&T’s (T) earnings.
“There’s been a little bit of a bias towards risk-off sentiment over the last 24 hours, thanks partly to some weaker-than-expected earnings releases that added to growing concerns about a potential US recession,” Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid wrote.
On the economic data front, the January State Street Investor Confidence Index came in slightly higher. Additionally, the January Survey of Business Uncertainty eased. Market participants will now be looking ahead to GDP data on Thursday.