NEW YORK — U.S. stocks plunged Wednesday as investors ramped up their selling of high-flying technology and internet stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 800 points, its worst loss in eight months.
Although the losses were widespread, stocks that have been the biggest winners on the market, including technology companies and retailers, suffered steep declines.
The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology companies, suffered its biggest loss in more than two years and has dropped almost 8 percent since the start of October.
Stocks slumped over the last week as a combination of strong economic data and positive commentary from Federal Reserve leaders sent bond yields higher as investors bet interest rates will keep rising.
Big moves in interest rates tend to unsettle investors, and they can also push them to sell stocks and buy bonds instead. And there is still an overhang from the U.S. trade dispute with China, which accounts for sizable portions of some tech companies’ revenue.
Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell, said investors fear that rising interest rates and growing expenses are going to erode the boost company profits have gotten from the GOP tax overhaul.
“The tax cuts juiced earnings this year, and that’s not sustainable,” he said. “The market’s starting to say that the glass may be half empty.”
The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 46.45 points, or 2.9 percent, to 1,575.41.
Apple gave up 4.6 percent to $216.36 and Microsoft dropped 5.4 percent to $106.16. Amazon skidded 6.2 percent to $1,755.25 and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, gave up 4.6 percent to $1,092.16.
Amazon has soared 50 percent this year, but has fallen 14 percent from its all-time high in early September. Alphabet has dropped 15 percent since late July. Insurance companies dropped as Hurricane Michael came ashore in Florida.
Berkshire Hathaway dipped 4.7 percent to $213.10 and reinsurer Everest Re slid 5.1 percent to $217.73.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury declined at the end of the day. Its jump from 3.05 percent early last week to more than 3.20 percent — a seven-year high — spooked investors. The yield was just 2.82 percent in last August.