Nasdaq Composite Index Leads U.S. Indexes Lower Amid Rush to Safety

U.S. stocks were down across the board Wednesday, with the Nasdaq leading the market lower as geopolitical tensions drove investors to the safety of traditional haven assets.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 18.13 points, or 0.3%, to close at 6,352.33. That was the index’s second straight down session.

A majority of Nasdaq-listed stocks finished in the red, with 2,166 companies reporting declines. A total of 817 companies traded higher.

Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ: SBUX) finished in negative territory. Meanwhile, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Intel Corp (NASDAQ: INTC) posted modest gains.

Technology stocks, which have a large representation on the Nasdaq, were mixed on Wednesday. The S&P 500’s information technology index pared losses to finish flat amid broad struggles in the large-cap index.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which tracks securities trading in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, settled down 0.3% at 3,281.76.

Traditional haven investments curried favor with investors amid a war of words between the United States and North Korea. Precious metals spiked, with gold futures adding $20 to their value. The Japanese yen also rose to more than three-week highs.

Gold and the yen are often viewed as the vehicles of choice for investors seeking a hedge against regional and international instability.

Heightened geopolitical tensions over the past two days come at a time when equities were enjoying lengthy gains. All of Wall Street’s major bourses finished higher on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index setting fresh record highs.

Nasdaq Composite Index

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Sam Bourgi is a financial market analyst for economiccalendar.com. He has more than six years of progressive experience in economic and financial analysis, research consulting and sectoral analysis. As a published author in government, peer-reviewed, online and industry sources, he has developed a fundamental approach to the financial markets with a broad focus on stock indices, commodities and the technology sector. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Windsor and Master’s degree from McMaster University.