The Dow fell nearly 300 points, or about 1%, in early morning trading. The blue chips have now fallen almost 15% this year.
The S&P 500, which is dangerously close to dropping 20% from its all-time highs and into a bear market, was down 0.6%. And the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which is already in bear market territory, dipped 0.3%. It’s now down 27% just this year alone.
Tech stocks were among the bigger market losers Thursday after Dow component Cisco reported sales that missed forecasts and also gave a weak outlook. Cisco †CSCO† plummeted nearly 10% on the news.
The poor results from corporate leaders are raising recession alarm bells. More experts are starting to predict a downturn later this year or in early 2023. The unease on Wall Street is palpable.
the VIX †VIX†, a measure of Wall Street volatility, has nearly doubled this year. And the CNN Business Fear & Greed Index, which looks at the VIX and six other measures of market sentiment, is flashing signs of Extreme Fear.
Investors may also be growing nervous about how the market turmoil is hurting big hedge funds and other institutional investment firms.
One prominent hedge fund, Melvin Capital, announced plans to shut down after betting against surging meme stocks like GameStop †GME† in 2021 and making ill-timed buys of travel stocks this year.
Traders have been bailing on risky momentum tech stocks, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and other investments that could benefit from an economic rebound. Instead, investors are now flocking to stocks that are perceived to be better hedges against, and in some cases beneficiaries of, inflation and rising interest rates.
Case in point? Oil stocks are big market winners this year. Chevron †CVX†† up more than 40%, is the top Dow stock. Chevron is one of the largest four holdings in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway †BRKB†which is soundly beating the market this year.
Berkshire also is a big investor in Occidental Petroleum †OXY†which has more than doubled this year and is the best performer in the S&P 500.