U.S. Stocks Slip as Tech Sector Remains Under Pressure

By Riva GoldFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock indexes edged lower Tuesday, weighed by declines in the shares of technology companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 19 points, or 0.1%, to 21390 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 fell 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.5%, on course for its second consecutive session of declines.

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Technology and biotechnology stocks have been some of the best performers in the S&P 500 this year, as investors have flocked to companies viewed as having high growth potential. But the group has slipped over the past month, while financial stocks, a 2017 laggard, have regained ground.

The S&P 500 technology sector lost 0.6% Tuesday, while the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index edged down 0.3%. Shares of Google parent Alphabet fell 0.9% after the European Union's antitrust regulator fined Google EUR2.42 billion ($2.71 billion) for favoring its own comparison-shopping service in search results.

Meanwhile, financial stocks rose with government bond yields. The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index of U.S. commercial lenders rose 0.6%, while the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 2.182%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.135%. Higher rates tend to benefit banks, since they boost their net-interest margins: a key measure of lending profitability.

Elsewhere, European stocks were mostly lower, while a speech from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi lifted the euro and government bond yields.

The Stoxx Europe 600 dropped 0.8% with all but the banks and basic resources sectors trading in negative territory.

Bank shares advanced in Europe, however, with Italian lenders adding 1.2% after Italian authorities said Sunday they were prepared to spend as much as EUR17 billion ($19.03 billion) as part of the shutdown of two regional banks.

Investors were otherwise largely focused on a series of speeches by global central bank officials on Tuesday, including remarks from Mr. Draghi and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen.

The euro climbed 0.9% to $1.1279, around a two-week high, after Mr. Draghi expressed confidence eurozone inflation would ultimately pick up just as growth broadens, hinting the bank might start winding down its large monetary stimulus.

"You can clearly see a disconnect between markets and central banks [on the strength of inflationary pressures]" said Florian Ielpo, head of macro strategy at Swiss fund manager Unigestion.

Ms. Yellen is also set to speak later Tuesday in London on global economic issues as the Fed considers the timing of future interest-rate rises and the start of its plan to wind down its asset holdings. Investors want to know whether Ms. Yellen believes recent softness in some U.S. economic data is transitory.

Policy makers' latest forecasts continue to project three interest-rate increases both this year and next. But fed-fund futures tracked by CME Group suggest investors currently see just a 13% chance of another rate rise by the end of the September meeting.

During a slow news week as the second quarter comes to an end, "what matters most is Fedspeak," said Kathy Lien, head of forex strategy at BK Asset Management.

Earlier, Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1% to another record close, while Japan's Nikkei added 0.4% following an earlier decline in the yen against the dollar.

--Akane Otani contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 10:21 ET (14:21 GMT)