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STOCKS CRUMBLING (SPX, SPY, DIA, DJI, QQQ, TLT, GLD)

U.S. stocks have taken a sharp turn lower today as the Japanese yen strengthens against the U.S. dollar.

The S&P 500 is down about 1.7%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is off about 1.3%, and the Nasdaq is down 2.9%. In Europe, most equity indices closed lower as well. Spain's IBEX 35 was the worst performer there, down 1.4%.

Notably, biotech stocks are selling off hard.

Some other big losers in the U.S. include Bed, Bath & Beyond (down more than 6%), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (down more than 5%), TripAdvisor (down almost 5%), and First Solar (down about 4%).

The dollar is down 0.6% against the yen, trading near ¥101.40. The dollar is down about 2.5% against the yen since the release of the March jobs report in the U.S. on Friday.

The release of weekly U.S. jobless claims figures this morning revealed that initial claims fell to the lowest level since May 2007 in the week ended April 5. Overnight, the release of Chinese trade data revealed figures on import and export growth in March that were both worse than expected.

The charts below show movements in various markets. Across the top, from left to right, are S&P 500 futures, the U.S. dollar-Japanese yen exchange rate, and the euro-U.S. dollar exchange rate. Across the bottom are gold futures, five-year U.S. Treasury note futures, and December 2015 eurodollar futures.

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Biotech Stocks Are Getting Smashed (IBB)

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The stock market is selling off today, and once again it's being led down by the momentum stocks.

One red-hot industry that continues to get smoked is biotechnology.

The iShares Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down a whopping 6.1%.

Among the big losers are Alexion Pharmaceuticals (-7.4%), Gilead Sciences (-6.8%), and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (-6.1%).

"I frankly just don't know why biotech is off so much today," said Mark Schoenebaum, a biotech and pharmaceuticals analyst for ISI Group.

The IBB index is now down 19% from its February high.

The industry has seen huge numbers of IPOs in the last year, which has some folks wondering if this is just the bursting of a bubble.

Meanwhile, the industry analysts have generally remained bullish on the industry based on the long-term profit potential of drugs in the developmental and regulatory pipeline.

"Large cap biotech is now trading at a 2015 and 2016 PE discount to the S&P500!" exclaimed Credit Suisse's Ravi Mehrotra and Koon Ching in a recent note to clients.

SEE ALSO: Anatomy Of A Biotech Bubble

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STOCKS CRUSHED: Here's What You Need To Know (DIA, SPY, SPX, QQQ)

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Things got ugly today. The momentum stocks of the Nasdaq saw it the worst.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 16,169.9 (-267.2, -1.6%)
  • S&P 500: 1,833.1 (-39.0, -2.0%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,054.1, (-129.7, -3.1%)

And now the top stories:

  • It's hard to say if there was any one event that triggered today's sell-off. U.S. futures moved into the red a few hours before the U.S. markets opened.
  • Today's underperformance of the Nasdaq continues a trend which started on March 5 in what strategist Ed Yardeni dubbed as the "internal correction."  This correction is characterized as "money coming out of high-priced growth stocks and going into lower-priced value stocks," he explained. The big losers have been Internet software and services companies, health care technology companies, and biotechnology companies.
  • The biggest losers in the S&P 500 today were indeed the biotech stocks including Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Celgene, and Biogen Idec. The iShares Biotechnology Index (IBB) fell by over 5%. Industry analysts have generally been bullish on the industry based on the long-term profit potential of drugs in the developmental and regulatory pipeline. "Large cap biotech is now trading at a 2015 and 2016 PE discount to the S&P500!" exclaimed Credit Suisse's Ravi Mehrotra and Koon Ching in a recent note to clients.
  • Big tech darlings also underperformed today. Netflix, Facebook, and Google were all losers.
  • Don't Miss: Wall Street's Brightest Minds Reveal THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARTS IN THE WORLD »

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