Tech Firms Pull Wall Street Lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell on Wall Street Wednesday as weakness in technology companies continues to drag on the market.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.3% in morning trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 0.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 72 points, or 0.2% as of 10:51 a.m. Eastern.

Palo Alto Networks was a big loser and a particularly heavy weight on the technology sector. The network security company lost a quarter of its value after giving forecasts for future billings that came in well below what analysts were looking for. Its rival, Fortinet, slumped 5.3%.

Amazon rose 0.5% following an announcement that it would be added to the Dow. Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is leaving the Dow, fell 3.4%

Bond yields remained relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.29% from 4.28% late Tuesday.

Markets were mostly higher in Europe and mixed in Asia.

Earnings remained the big focus for Wall Street. Nvidia will report its highly anticipated results later in the day. The chipmaker has tripled over the past year thanks to a surge in investor enthusiasm over artificial intelligence.

Several other companies made big moves following the release of their financial results. Electronic measurement technology company Keysight Technologies fell 7.7% after its profit forecast fell short of analysts' expectations. Garmin, which makes personal navigation devices, jumped 11.9% after beating earnings forecasts.

Toll Brothers rose 6.8% after giving investors an encouraging financial update as it sees strong demand. That helped support gains throughout the homebuilding sector.

Energy companies gained ground as natural gas prices jumped 11%. Exxon Mobil rose 1.4%.

Later Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its most recent meeting, where it opted to leave its benchmark lending rate alone for the fourth time in a row. Investors have all but lost hope that the central bank will cut rates at its March meeting and are looking for the first rate cut to come in June.

Investors have to wait until next week for another key update on inflation. That's when the government will release its monthly report on personal consumption and expenses, the Fed's preferred measure of inflation. The central bank's goal has been to tame inflation back to 2% and analysts expect that report to show it cooled to 2.3% in January. Inflation by that measure peaked at 7.1% in June of 2022.

Separate measures for consumer and wholesale prices in January show that inflation didn't cool as much as anticipated. That prompted investors to shift expectations for rate cuts from March to June. A weak report on retail sales added to the disappointing inflation data and raised concerns that stubborn inflation is inflicting more pain on consumers. Tighter consumer spending could put more pressure on businesses in 2024.