The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated sharply as tensions over Ukraine spiked higher. Tesla (TSLA) hit reverse gear after losing a Consumer Reports’ title to Ford (F) and amid a legal move against the SEC by CEO Elon Musk. Nvidia (NVDA) plunged following earnings. Walmart (WMT) was the top blue chip.
A stock still managed to attempt a breakout while a few others made relative-strength-line highs. Helmerich & Payne (HP) tried to pass a buy point while Commercial Metals (CMC), Skyline Champion (SKY) and Atkore (ATKR) all saw their RS lines reach new levels.
Volatility spiked, with the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, rising 15.7%. Volume was mixed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq according to early data.
Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped about eight basis points to 1.97%. Oil also fell, with West Texas Intermediate crude falling over 2%.
Ukraine-Russia Tensions Escalate
Violence was escalating in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, with Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian authorities trading accusations over responsibility.
It has been claimed a kindergarten and a school in Ukrainian-held areas have been hit by mortar shells. But separatists also said they were hit in mortar attacks. No fatalities have been reported so far.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack on schools was a “big provocation,” while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the “situation at the borders of Russia may ignite at any moment.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. has claimed Russia may fabricate a reason to stage an invasion. For their part, the Russians ordered the expulsion of Bart Gorman, the deputy ambassador at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.
Nasdaq Tumbles As Tech Stocks Get Slammed
The Nasdaq was the worst-hit major index amid weakness in tech stocks, closing down 2.9%. MercadoLibre (MELI) stood out as it gave up around 10%.
The S&P 500 was also being beaten lower. The index slipped 2.1%. Chemicals stock Albemarle (ALB) was a major laggard as it fell 19.9%.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 4:10 PM ET 2/17/2022
The S&P sectors were nearly all negative. Consumer staples and utilities were the only areas in the green. Technology and communication services were the worst performers.
Small caps were badly mauled by the bears, with the Russell 2000 diving 2.6%.
Growth stocks were given an even harsher spanking. The Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY), a bellwether for growth stocks, ended the day down 2.7%.
Dow Jones Today: Index Dives As Walmart Stock Pops
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was given a bloody nose by the bears. It fell more than 600 points as it closed down 1.8%. This was its worst decline of 2022 so far.
Walmart stood out as it jumped 4% on an earnings beat. It also backed its forecast for adjusted EPS growth in the middle single digits.
Despite its pop today, WMT has underperformed over the past 12 months.
The supermarket stock remains stuck below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, according to MarketSmith analysis.
Meanwhile, Salesforce.com (CRM) was once again the worst performer on the index as it ended the session down 5.5%.
Tesla Stock Falls Amid Lost Title, Elon Musk Move
Tesla stock was down 5.1% amid a slew of developments. This caused TSLA to slip back toward its 200-day moving average.
Tesla stock was dipping amid a clutch of news. Firstly, CEO Elon Musk has accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of trying to “chill” his right to free speech .
Musk took issue with the way the SEC has been overseeing his communications as part of a 2018 settlement over claims he made on Twitter that he could take the EV giant private at $420 per share.
Musk’s lawyer wrote in a Thursday court filing that the SEC has “broken its promises” and has been “weaponizing the consent decree by using it to try to muzzle and harass Mr. Musk and Tesla.”
It also emerged Thursday that Tesla’s Model 3 has been unseated as Consumer Reports’ top EV by Ford’s Mustang Mach-E.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed Thursday it is probing reports that the firm’s Autopilot software has a glitch that causes so-called phantom braking.
Tesla stock is a member of the prestigious IBD Leaderboard list of leading growth stocks.
Nvidia Stock Slammed After Earnings
Nvidia was a notable downside performer following its latest earnings report. The stock ended the day down 7.6%.
Nvidia was giving up ground despite beating analyst views for Q4 with earnings per share of $1.32 a share on sales of $7.64 billion. EPS had been seen popping 58% to $1.22 a share, according to FactSet data. Revenue was expected to vault 48% to $7.4 billion.
The negative sentiment comes despite Bank of America reiterating its buy rating on the stock following its report. It touted the firm’s balance-sheet flexibility and the momentum of its data-center business.
Nvidia’s pullback comes after it staged a solid rebound from its 200-day moving average. The stock looks to be forming a new base, though a clear chart pattern has yet to emerge.
Nvidia is also a member of the IBD Leaderboard list.
These Stocks Make Bullish Moves
Gas drilling stock Helmerich & Payne (HP) came within a whisker of passing a double-bottom buy point of 35.54 before giving up gains.
The stock boasts excellent stock market performance and could be worth watching. Big money has also been snapping up the stock of late.
Meanwhile, Commercial Metals, Skyline Champion and Atkore impressed as their relative strength lines hit new highs.
All three of these stocks are members of the IBD 50 Index. This is a rules-based computer generated index of the 50 top growth stocks listed on U.S. stock exchanges.
It is always a good idea to look out for stocks showing relative strength amid a troubled market.
Please follow Michael Larkin on Twitter at @IBD_MLarkin for more on growth stocks and analysis.
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