By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened sharply lower on Monday as fears about rising interest rates were compounded by signs of increasing stress in some technology stocks.
By 9:35 AM ET (1335 GMT), Dow Jones futures were down 421 points, or 1.3% at 32,478 points, the S&P 500 was down 1.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.7%.
The mood was soured by the sight of early backers of electric-van maker Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ:RIVN) – an example of the ‘profitless tech’ sector that has come under the most pressure from the rising interest rate environment – reducing their holdings at a steep discount. Ford Motor (NYSE:F) reportedly sold some 8 million shares while another unnamed seller, thought by most to be Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), planned to sell another 12 million shares, both at a discount of around 6% to Friday’s closing level, according to CNBC. Ford itself fell 1.9%.
Rivian stock fell 13% to a new all-time low in the first minutes of trading and has now lost over two-thirds of its value since listing only half a year ago. Other electric vehicle stocks also suffered in sympathy, with Lucid Group (NASDAQ:LCID) stock falling 5.1% and Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:RIDE) stock falling 10.2%, despite publishing first quarter earnings in line with consensus. Even Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), the only EV stock that is already consistently profitable, fell 3.8%.
Another stock to fall to an all-time low was cybersecurity and analytics company Palantir (NYSE:PLTR). Palantir missed estimates for first quarter earnings and revenue and also guided lower for the second quarter. It said its operating margin will fall to 20% in the current quarter from 31% a year earlier due to heavy investment in expanding its sales force. Palantir stock fell 22%.
Uber (NYSE:UBER) stock, meanwhile, fell to its lowest in over two years on reports that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had warned staff of a “seismic” shift at the company to put more focus on generating free cash flow. An email reportedly sent to staff by Khosrowshahi hinted of heavy cost cuts and a further scaling back of investments that have only a long-term payoff. The stock pared its early losses to trade down 1.5%.
Tech, in particular, remains vulnerable to sharp selloffs due to fears about rising interest rates, which were not much eased by an April employment report that saw the unemployment rate falling further and the recent improvement in labor force participation reversing. That suggested that the labor market is likely to continue being a source of inflationary pressure for the foreseeable future, keeping the Federal Reserve inclined to raise interest rates in aggressive half-point increments over the next few months.
The few stocks to defy the drop included those that were able to prove they can absorb any rising input costs and pass them on to consumers. Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) stock rose 0.1% after the country’s biggest meatpacker reported a 16% rise in revenue in the last quarter.