S&P 500 ends at lowest since May as tech, internet stocks tumble

Futures Slump on Global Riskoff Sentiment; Caterpillar Weighs

Amazon, Alphabet, Mattel and other big companies fell sharply after turning in disappointing quarterly results.

The Nasdaq composite, with a hefty roster of tech stocks, bore the brunt of the sell-off, leaving it more than 10 percent below its August peak, what Wall Street calls a "correction".

There have also been disappointing quarterly earnings from several big-name companies, worldwide condemnation of Saudi Arabia - a major oil producer - over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and concerns that the US-China trade war is causing the global economy to slow down.

The contract for the S&P 500 was up 0.2 percent at 2,670.80 while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1 percent to 24,620.00.

The S&P 500 was up 30.19 points, or 1.14 percent, at 2,686.29.

The S&P 500 is down 111.68 points, or 4 percent. The sell-off turned both the Dow and the S&P 500 negative for the year, with stocks on track for their worst October since the financial crisis. Hong Kong's Hang Seng, affected by declines in semiconductor-makers and other tech shares, fell almost 2.5 percent before ultimately recovering and closing down 1 percent. Semiconductor maker Tokyo Electron lost 4 percent and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. dropped 4.4 percent.

US stocks recovered some of their losses Friday following a steep slide in early trading, but the drop was enough to push the benchmark S&P 500 index back into the red for the year.

The Dow is down 135.80 points, or 0.5 per cent.

Caterpillar finished with a drop of 7.5 per cent despite reporting a 63 per cent jump in third-quarter profits to US$1.7 billion. Facebook gave up 4.7 percent to $147.09.

Technology and consumer-focused companied led the declines early Friday. By mid-morning it was down 2.9 per cent at 21,443.72.

On Wednesday, key Wall Street indexes sank by more than 2 percent, further extending losses seen just the day before.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 3.11 percent from 3.16 percent late Tuesday.

HOUSING SKID: The Commerce Department said sales of new USA homes plunged 5.5 percent in September, the fourth monthly drop. The Chinese yuan fell to 6.9641 against the greenback, flirting with its weakest point in almost a decade.

That, along with worries ranging from rising borrowing costs and bond yields to Italy's budget and upcoming USA mid-term elections, sparked a rout on Wall Street yesterday. Brent crude, the benchmark for worldwide oil prices, added 0.9 percent to close at $77.62 a barrel in London.

After the closing bell, Microsoft rose 2.7 percent following the release of its results.

Some investors, including David Meier, a portfolio manager at Motley Fool Asset Management, say the sense that stock prices have simply reached their peak is driving the markets, too. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.8 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat.

The dollar climbed to 112.59 yen from 112.44 yen.

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