FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

Wall Street drifted lower on Monday. However, the Nasdaq posted heavy losses as several big tech companies and a handful of biotech firms tumbled.

Today's Markets

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.9 points, or 0.16%, to 16276, the S&P 500 declined 9.1 points, or 0.49%, to 1857 and the Nasdaq Composite sold off by 50.4 points, or 1.2%, to 4226.

The markets capped a turbulent trading week to the upside last week, with the broad S&P 500 advancing 1.4%. The pace was expected to slow on Monday, with few major U.S. economic events on the calendar. 

Several big-name technology players came under pressure on the day, knocking the Nasdaq down sharply. Among the names were Google (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN) and Yahoo! (YHOO). Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Biotech index extended its slide and fell into its steepest two-day slump since 2011.

Traders were greeted with a report from HSBC showing China's vast manufacturing sector contracted more quickly in March than it did in February. The PMI gauge dipped to 48.1 from 48.5, confounding expectations of a rise to 48.7. 

"Weakness is broadly based with domestic demand softening further. We expect Beijing to launch a series of policy measures to stabilize growth," Hongbin Qu, HSBC's chief China economist wrote in a note to clients. 

Economists at Barclays added that "we now see downside risks to our growth forecasts."

In corporate news, Apple (AAPL) is reportedly considering teaming up with Comcast (CMCSA) to make set-top boxes. Herbalife (HLF) plans on nominating a group of three directors picked by activist investor Carl Icahn. Cisco (CSCO) said it would invest $1 billion over the next two years in creating the world's biggest network of clouds in a bid to continue pressing on with its Internet of Everything mantra. 

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 40 cents, or 0.4%, to $99.86 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.46% to $2.921 a gallon. Gold dipped $11.20, or 0.84%, to $1,325 a troy ounce. 

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.