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Dow drops 525 points, tech slides as DOJ eyes crackdown on censorship

Jonathan Garber
·2 mins read

U.S. equity markets took a sharp turn lower in the final hour of trading with technology and energy shares pacing the declines.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 3% as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. were among the hardest hit after President Trump met with officials from the Department of Justice and state attorney generals to discuss the efforts to protect Americans from social media abuse and to combat censorship of lawful speech online.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 525 points, or nearly 2%, with Chevron Corp. and Microsoft Corp. coming under pressure.

The S&P 500, meanwhile, slipped 2.37%.

Tesla Inc.’s Battery Day event failed to deliver the 1 million-mile battery that Wall Street analysts were expecting. The headlines were instead a new battery pack that will reduce kilowatt-hour costs by 50% and improve vehicle range by 16%.

Additionally, Elon Musk's company filed a suit to block the Trump administration's tariffs on products made in China.

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate is moving ahead to a Phase 3 trial that will include up to 60,000 adults. There is no clear timeline for when a successful vaccine would be available for distribution.

Looking at earnings, Nike Inc. shares soared to a record high, bucking the downtrend, after the sports-apparel giant reported quarterly profit rose 11% from a year ago as COVID-19 resulted in surging online sales of sneakers and workout apparel.

KB Home beat on both the top and bottom lines, but the number of homes delivered fell 16% year-over-year to 2,545 amid disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Stitch Fix Inc. reported a deeper-than-expected loss while sales grew 9% from the prior quarter as the subscription-based personal shopping platform worked through supply chain issues caused by COVID-19.

Elsewhere, Lululemon Athletica Inc. resumed its share buyback program that was paused amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which expires on Jan. 31, 2021, has $263.6 million remaining.

Looking at commodities, gold fell $38.70 to $1,859.90 an ounce and West Texas Intermediate crude oil inched up 13 cents to $39.93 per barrel.

U.S. Treasurys fell, causing the yield on the 10-year note to climb 2.5 basis points to 0.689%.

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European markets were higher with Britain’s FTSE gaining 1.2%, France’s CAC advancing 0.62% and Germany’s DAX gaining 0.39%.

In Asia, markets ended little changed with Japan’s Nikkei off 0.06% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.11% and 0.16%, respectively.

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