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US: Nasdaq tumbles 1.8% in tech sell-off as Dow sets record


[NEW YORK] Big tech shares including Apple, Amazon and Facebook fell sharply on Friday as the Nasdaq retreated from a record, while the Dow in contrast finished at a new high.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.8 per cent to end the session at 6,207.92, pulling back from Thursday's record.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per cent to end at 21,271.97, a new all-time high, while the broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.1 per cent to 2,431.77.

Analysts called the midday shift a sector rotation in which investors were taking profits from highly-valued sectors and putting the funds in areas that have underperformed, such as financials, energy and retailers.

Apple dropped 3.9 per cent, Amazon fell 3.2 per cent, Google parent Alphabet 3.4 per cent and Netflix 4.7 per cent.

"They've run up too far too fast," said Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates said of the high-tech stocks. "They became overvalued." Big gainers in the Dow included oil giant Chevron, up 2.3 per cent, and banks JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, which climbed 2.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.

Energy and financials have been laggards thus far in 2017. Retailers, another beaten-down sector, also did well in the session, with Macy's gaining 4.3 per cent, Gap 2.4 per cent and Target 4.2 per cent.

"It is definitely a rotation," said Nate Thooft, senior managing director, Manulife Asset Management.

"When it started to crack a little bit this morning ...people jumped on the bandwagon and started taking some of their wins off the table."

Mr Thooft said the gains in the Dow reflected relief that the British election and the congressional testimony of former FBI chief James Comey were over and no longer loomed over the market.