Tech companies, Citigroup tug US stocks lower

  • Article by: KEN SWEET , Associated Press
  • Updated: March 27, 2014 - 7:56 PM
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FILE - This Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, file photo shows the Citibank building in New York.

Photo: Mark Lennihan, Associated Press

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– It was a bad day to be an investor in Citigroup or tech stocks.

U.S. stock indexes edged lower for a second day Thursday as investors continued to retreat from technology stocks. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed at its lowest level in six weeks.

Bank stocks were also in focus. Citigroup fell 5 percent after the Federal Reserve denied the bank’s plan to raise its dividend and buy back more stock. Most other major banks won approval to raise their dividends.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 3.52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,849.04 and the Nasdaq dropped 22.35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,151.23.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell a modest 4.76 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to end at 16,264.23. The blue-chip index benefited from a gain in Exxon Mobil, which rose $1.54, or 1.6 percent, to $96.24 as the price of oil increased 1 percent to just over $101 a barrel.

Once again, the high-flying technology stocks that soared in 2013 were among the hardest hit. Tesla Motors fell nearly 3 percent, Netflix lost 2.2 percent and Google fell 1.6 percent.

The sell-off continues what has already been a tough month for technology stocks. Netflix is down 18 percent this month, and Twitter and Tesla have fallen 16 and 15 percent.

Investors say it’s reassuring to see some of the air come out of these speculative technology stocks. Netflix is still is trading at 90 times its expected 2014 earnings; the average for companies in the S&P 500 index is 17. Tesla is worth 119 times its expected earnings.

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