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Nasdaq falls as tech companies grilled in Congress

Nasdaq falls as tech companies grilled in Congress

Technology shares were dragged lower by Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday following tough questioning of their top executives by Congress as US stocks ended mixed.

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06.09.2018 08:04 AM

Technology shares were dragged lower by Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday following tough questioning of their top executives by Congress as US stocks ended mixed.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.2 percent to 7,995.17.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 percent at 25,974.99, while the S&P 500 lost 0.3 percent at 2,888.60.

Facebook shed 2.3 percent and Twitter lost 6.1 percent after executives from the two social media companies acknowledged they had been caught off guard ahead of the 2016 US elections when their platforms were manipulated by Russian interests and other.

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told a Senate panel they had taken steps to address the problem and pledged more action ahead.

The hearing elevated the prospect of tougher regulation from Washington on technology companies, an idea furthered later Tuesday when the Justice Department said it would probe whether the platforms were stifling conservative ideas.

Tech shares were mostly lower, including Apple which slipped 0.7 percent, Microsoft which dropped 2.9 percent and Google-parent Alphabet which lost 0.9 percent.

Stocks also were under pressure from trade worries as US trade deficit surged to $50.1 billion in July, the second straight month with an increase, on record imports and as the deficits with China and the European Union hit all-time highs.

A higher trade deficit will dent third-quarter US growth and also could inflame US trade relations with key partners as President Donald Trump's administration confronts Canada, China and others.

Shares of CVS Health and Aetna rose 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported US antitrust officials were nearing approval of the drugstore chain's proposed purchase of the health insurer.

The same report said officials would also give the green light to Cigna's planned acquisition of Express Scripts. Express Scripts gained 3.3 percent, while Cigna lost 0.6 percent.
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