The stock market suffered a large decline on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing more than 300 points lower after having fallen by nearly 500 points earlier in the session. Other major benchmarks followed suit as the White House once again escalated its rhetoric on the trade front, threatening to put new limits on the ability of foreign investors to export technology from U.S. companies. Stocks that are particularly sensitive to trade issues took hits, but the overall momentum behind the entire market also got stopped in its tracks. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), and U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.
Netflix hits the pause button
Shares of Netflix dropped 6.5%, retreating from a big upsurge that helped the streaming video giant's stock price double just since the beginning of 2018. Throughout much of the year, investors focused on the long-range growth possibilities for Netflix, including potential price increases, further subscriber additions in the U.S., and continuing international expansion. Yet skeptics argue that Netflix stock has come too far, too quickly, hampering the company's ability to grow revenue and profit fast enough to satisfy growth-hungry shareholders. Only time will tell which side is right, but today, investors seem to be listening more closely to the bearish argument.
Is Micron about to take a turn for the worse?
Micron Technology stock fell 7% on a bad day for the semiconductor market more broadly. Investors in the chip space weren't happy about the potential for the technology sector getting embroiled in trade disputes, especially given the massive demand that has helped lift Micron to gains of more than 300% over the past two years. The semiconductor space is also notoriously cyclical, and moves from both Micron and its rivals to build new production facilities could create a future supply glut that could lead to the next downward phase of the cycle. The combination of those two factors made investors nervous today, and a downward trend could continue if problems on the trade front grow even larger.
U.S. Steel cools off
Finally, shares of U.S. Steel lost 6.5%. Many investors would figure that the steelmaker could be a big beneficiary of tariffs on industrial metals, given that it will be able to defend itself against foreign competition in its home market. Yet the result thus far of tariffs has been higher prices in the U.S. steel market, and that's raising new concerns among steel consumers. At this point, many investors in U.S. Steel hope that the federal government will resolve its trade disputes amicably -- before disruptive price changes both in the U.S. and abroad have a negative impact on the steelmaker's fundamental business prospects going forward.