President Trump’s repeated tweets attacking Amazon, the stock market leader of the past four years, have a lot to do with today’s meltdown across equity markets. The retailing giant is down by almost 5%, while other tech names fell sharply (Tesla down 6%, Netflix down 4.5%, Nvidia down 3.4%, and Twitter down 3.3%).
The threat of a disruption to global supply chains due to a tariff tit-for-tat, the threat of government action against Amazon (for example by raising post office package charges, as The Wall Street Journal argues this morning), the threat of regulation of Facebook and perhaps Google, the collapse of the self-driving car hype, and a general sense that the tech bubble has simply blown too big have combined to turn tech into trash.
What is worrying about today’s market, though, is not the tech collapse – which was completely predictable – but the carnage among core industrial and consumer names. 3M, a diversified manufacturer, leads the Dow Jones in terms of overall point loss (accounting for 40 of the Dow’s nearly 500 point loss just before noon), followed closely by Home Depot, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, Caterpillar and Wal-Mart. Those are the non-tech market leaders. Investors who hoped for an orderly rotation out of tech instead are selling everything else.