From the Associated Press/Los Angeles Times

Stocks slid Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average losing more than 800 points in a sell-off that accelerated in the final minutes of trading. The Dow and other major U.S. stock indexes notched their biggest declines in several months.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose as high as 3.24%, the highest level in years. It was at just 3.05% early last week. The rise in rates is weighing particularly heavily on areas of the market that had earlier been the biggest winners.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell about 3.3%. The benchmark U.S. stock index hadn’t suffered a five-day losing streak since November 2016, just before the presidential election.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped about 4.1%.

The Dow ended down about 825 points, or about 3.1% at about 25,610.

Tech stocks and companies that sell non-essentials to consumers have been some of the top performers over the last year, nearly doubling the performance of the S&P 500. They’ve also dropped more than the rest of the market so far this month.

Driver: interest rates rising, rising costs for companies including rising price of oil

The biggest driver for the market over the last week has been interest rates, which began spurting higher after several encouraging reports on the economy. Higher rates can slow economic growth, erode corporate profits and make investors less willing to pay high prices for stocks.

Gina Martin Adams, the chief equity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence, said investors fear that company profit margins will be squeezed by rising costs, including the price of oil. Paint and coatings maker PPG gave a weak third-quarter forecast Monday, while earlier, Pepsi and Conagra’s quarterly reports reflected increased expenses.

“Both companies highlighted rising costs, not only input costs but increasing operating expenses [and] marketing expenses,” she said.

Tech stocks rise fast and fall fast

Adams said those worries are affecting technology and consumer-focused companies as well even though companies such as Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook have long had very high profit margins. That’s helped make technology stocks more volatile in the last few months.

“As stocks go up, tech goes up more than the stock market. As stocks go down, tech goes down more than the stock market.”

Sears Holdings nosedived after the Wall Street Journal reported that the struggling retailer hired an advisory firm to prepare a bankruptcy filing that could come within days. Sears has closed hundreds of stores and sold several famous brands or put them on the block as it sees more customers abandon its stores.

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