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Tech Firms Pull Wall Street Lower      02/21 10:23

   Stocks fell on Wall Street Wednesday as weakness in technology companies 
continues to drag on the market.

   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.

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