By Anna Hirtenstein and Akane Otani 

U.S. stocks edged lower Thursday, weighed down by declines in technology shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 0.1% after closing Wednesday at an all-time high. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.6%.

Stocks have wobbled the past week as investors have grappled with a sharp rise in bond yields. The shift, which money managers have broadly attributed to bets on inflation and growth picking up, has tempered enthusiasm for some of the pricier sectors of the stock market.

The S&P 500 technology sector lost 0.5% Thursday, among the worst-performing sectors in the index. Meanwhile, sectors of the market thought to benefit most from rising economic growth, like financials and energy, were higher for the day.

The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index, which tracks the performance of 24 lenders, added 0.6%.

"The market is jittery. The bond yields' rising is putting equities, especially growth stocks, under pressure," said Sebastien Galy, a macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. "There is a bit of a risk reduction broadly."

One group of stocks that bucked the trend: so-called "meme stocks" that have surged in popularity among individual investors this year.

In a wave of volatility reminiscent of last month's rally, GameStop jumped 50%, while AMC Entertainment climbed 14%. The two stocks had soared in overnight trading as well.

The moves show "there is still liquidity and a lot of access to speculative bets," said Sophie Chardon, cross asset strategist at Lombard Odier. "We have to be prepared to live with this kind of targeted bubble, but I wouldn't see it as a threat to the global equity market."

Meanwhile, government bond prices fell, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticking up to 1.460%, from 1.388% Wednesday.

"The rise in yields is supportive for banks, higher oil prices are supportive for energy. It is a change of leadership," Ms. Chardon said.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.2%.

Among individual equities, beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev fell almost 6% after its fourth-quarter profit came in below estimates.

British packaging company DS Smith jumped over 6% on reports that rival Mondi is exploring a takeover.

Investors have also been selling European government bonds in recent weeks as they look for higher returns. The yield on French 10-year bonds, which moves inversely to the price, ticked up above zero for the first time since June and reached as high as 0.024%.

In Asia, most major benchmarks finished the day up.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 1.2%. South Korea's Kospi Index rallied 3.5% after its central bank kept interest rates at historic lows.

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at and Akane Otani at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 25, 2021 10:09 ET (15:09 GMT)

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