After months of quietly climbing higher and higher, tech stocks began to tumble Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite falling as much as 2.8 percent during mid-day trading.
More disconcertingly, the selloff hit hardest some of the largest-cap and best-known names in tech. Microsoft fell as much as 4.6 percent, while Alphabet and Facebook lost as much as 5 percent. Amazon fell as much as 5.3 percent, Apple 5.6 percent, and Netflix 6.5 percent.
Such declines aren’t unheard of in the history of technology stocks, which have a long record of volatile performances because of their focus on growth and the cyclical nature of the industry. But the selloff was notable not only for its sudden onset but also because most of these stocks have seen low volatility for much of the past year, as they quietly edged to record highs.
In the past 12 months through yesterday, the Nasdaq Composite had gained 30 percent, while share prices of the six tech giants mentioned above have risen between 30 percent and 71 percent in that period without a sustained selloff. Shares of Google and Amazon both surpassed the $1,000 mark recently and seemed to hit a new record high each week. Both closed today below $1,000.
The sudden declines may reverse themselves soon enough, but that they came out of nowhere without a single, overriding catalyst suggests a…