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Financial Markets                      04/17 15:45


   NEW YORK (AP) -- Sinking technology stocks sent Wall Street lower again on 
Wednesday, and the S&P 500 fell to its fourth straight loss.

   The index dipped 29.20 points, or 0.6%, to 5,022.21 for its longest losing 
streak since early January. It's down 4.4% since setting a record late last 

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 45.66 points, or 0.1%, to 
37,753.31, and the Nasdaq composite sank 181.88, or 1.1%, to 15,683.37.

   Tech stocks slumped after ASML, a Dutch company that's a major supplier to 
the semiconductor industry, reported weaker orders for the start of 2024 than 
analysts expected. Its stock trading in the United States slumped 7.1%.

   Nvidia dropped 3.9%, and Broadcom sank 3.5% to serve as the two heaviest 
weights on the S&P 500.

   The weakness for tech overshadowed stronger-than-expected profit reports 
from some big companies, including United Airlines. It soared 17.4% after 
reporting stronger results for the start of the year than analysts expected, 
lifted by strong demand from business fliers.

   The losses also came despite easing pressure from the bond market, which has 
been dictating much of Wall Street's action lately. Sharp tumbles for oil 
prices lessened investors' worries about inflation, which in turn helped 
Treasury yields ease.

   The 10-year Treasury yield sank to 4.58% from 4.67% late Tuesday. The 
two-year yield, which moves more closely with expectations for the Fed, fell to 
4.92% from 4.99%.

   They gave back some of their big recent gains driven by traders giving up on 
hopes for imminent cuts to interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

   Yields on Tuesday had returned to where they were in November after top 
officials at the Federal Reserve suggested the central bank may hold its main 
interest steady for a while. It wants to get more confidence that inflation is 
sustainably heading toward its target of 2%. Its main interest rate has been 
sitting at its highest level since 2001.

   High interest rates hurt prices for investments and increase the risk of a 
recession, but Fed officials are concerned after a string of reports this year 
has shown inflation remaining hotter than forecast.

   Traders are now mostly expecting just one or two cuts to interest rates from 
the Federal Reserve this year, according to data from CME Group. That's down 
from forecasts for six or more at the start of the year.

   With little near-term help expected from an easing of interest rates, 
companies will need to deliver fatter profits to justify their big runs in 
stock price since autumn.

   "I think markets are waiting on corporate news to decide where they'll head 
next," said JJ Kinahan, CEO of IG North America.

   Travelers slumped 7.4% after the insurer's quarterly results fell short of 
forecasts. It had to contend with more losses from catastrophes.

   J.B. Hunt Transport Services fell 8.1% after reporting weaker revenue and 
results than expected. It was hurt in part by competition in the eastern part 
of the country and by higher wages for workers and other costs.

   On the winning side of Wall Street was Omnicom Group. It rose 1.6% after 
reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The 
marketing and communications company highlighted growth trends in most markets 
around the world, outside the Middle East and Africa.

   The stock of Donald Trump's social media company also continued to swing 
sharply, this time jumping 15.6%. That followed two straight losses of more 
than 14%. Experts say the stock is caught up in frenzied trading driven more by 
public sentiment around the former president than by the business prospects of 
the company.

   In stock markets abroad, London's FTSE 100 added 0.4% after a report showed 
U.K. inflation fell to its lowest level in two and a half years in March. That 
could further pave the way for a cut in interest rates there.

   Other indexes rose modestly in Europe, while they were mixed in Asia. 
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.3%, while stocks jumped 2.1% in Shanghai.


   AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.



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