AILSA CHANG, HOST:
It was another tough day for the stock market. All the major indexes were down, but the Nasdaq had an especially bad day. It declined 4.4 percent - the biggest single-day loss for the tech-heavy index in seven years. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports much of the day's sell-off happened in the last hour of trading.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Investors are worried that a global economic slowdown could have a deep impact on growth in many sectors and all over the world. It is also the heart of corporate earnings season, and less optimistic growth forecasts from several major firms have underscored some of those economic concerns for investors. One indication of this growing pessimism is evident in the technology sector, which, until now, had been largely unaffected by the ups and downs of other industries.
David Meier is a portfolio manager at Motley Fool Asset Management. He says this is a hitch in an otherwise uninterrupted two-year bull run for technology.
DAVID MEIER: If you look, the tech sector, especially larger names, have pretty much gone straight up.
NOGUCHI: So he says when companies announce disappointing earnings, investors are bound to punish the stocks. Today in particular, weaker-than-expected sales from Texas Instruments rippled across the entire semiconductor sector. AT&T's weaker profits also helped drive tech down overall. A similar sell-off occurred earlier this week, after 3M and Caterpillar released their results.
But Meier says he does not see evidence in recent corporate or economic news that give him cause for major concern. He says the fundamentals of the global economy and the tech firms that got hit hard in recent days are still healthy.
MEIER: I do not see, you know, a global recession imminent or anything like that. I think this is purely sentiment-driven.
NOGUCHI: Meier says he thinks what's driving markets these days is the sometimes-contagious emotional sense that stock prices have simply reached their peak.
MEIER: Volatility is going to be the name of the game for some time. All this has to shake out, and then investor confidence has to be restored.
NOGUCHI: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 have now lost all of their gains for the year. Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington.
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