Market Snapshot: Dow futures down more than 200 points as Wall Street looks to build on losses

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Stock-index futures signaled more selling was in store for Wall Street a day after the biggest drop for equities since February.

Wednesday’s U.S. losses were followed by selloffs in Asia and Europe, with major benchmarks off sharply.

What are major benchmarks doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

YMZ8, -1.01%

 were off lows but remained down 200 points, or 0.8%, at 25,319 points, while S&P 500 futures

ESZ8, -0.85%

 dropped 0.7% to 2,762.30 and Nasdaq-100 futures

NQZ8, -0.86%

 lost 0.6% to 6,990.

The Dow

DJIA, -3.15%

 plunged 831.83 points, or 3.2%, on Wednesday, while the S&P 500

SPX, -3.29%

 dropped 3.3%, marking the biggest one-day point and percentage declines for both gauges since Feb. 8. The Nasdaq Composite

COMP, -4.08%

 tumbled 4.1%, is biggest percentage drop since June 2016 following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.

Read: Why the stock market tumbled Wednesday, ushering in its worst start to a quarter in about 2 years

What’s driving the market?

Investors have pinned the selloff on a variety of factors, including a sudden rise in long-dated interest rates since late September. A bond-market selloff saw the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury

TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.09%

 top 3.26% early Tuesday for the first time since April 2011.

Higher yields raise borrowing costs for corporations. Higher yields can also offer competition to equities, luring investors away from stocks. Market turmoil, however, appeared to spark haven demand for U.S. paper, with the yield on the 10-year note down more than 6 basis points Thursday to 3.158%.

President Donald Trump stepped up his criticism of the Fed late Wednesday, blaming the central bank’s rate-hiking efforts for the stock-market weakness. Some analysts argue the Fed’s expected rate path is overly aggressive, while others contend strong underlying economic fundamentals justify the central bank’s outlook.

Check out: What Trump’s tirade against ‘loco’ Fed means for the markets

Continuing trade tensions with China and concerns about global growth have also been cited as factors behind the equity market’s downturn.

Tech stocks were particularly hard hit, with the S&P 500’s tech sector falling 4.9% Wednesday for its biggest one-day decline since August 2011.

Read: Tech stocks plunge because investors are nervous — here are 3 reasons why

What are analysts saying

“The plunge in U.S. stock markets comes after a long run of almost undisrupted gains on Wall Street which were bound to come up for a correction,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, in a note. “The strong U.S. economic background that has supported share prices this year is now working against that same market. Rising interest rates are fuelling concerns that higher borrowing costs will erode the margins of U.S. companies and with the domestic labor market at its strongest in nearly 50 years, wage pressures are filtering into companies’ costs.”

What stocks are in focus?

Investors will be watching formerly high-flying tech stocks for further signs of weakness. Shares of Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN, -6.15%

 , Google parent Alphabet Inc.

GOOG, -5.06%

GOOGL, -4.63%

 , and Twitter Inc.

TWTR, -8.47%

 were among stocks hammered Wednesday, a selloff that also coincided with a warning from Barclays that a choppy earnings season lies ahead for internet companies.

See: These stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq declined the most Wednesday

Shares of electric automaker Tesla Inc.

TSLA, -2.25%

 may be in focus after Chief Executive Elon Musk denied a report late Wednesday that James Murdoch is the “favorite” candidate to replace him as chairman of the company.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.

William Watts is MarketWatch’s deputy markets editor, based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @wlwatts.

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