NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Nasdaq tumbled below 5,000 on Tuesday as investors sold high-momentum biotech and technology stocks while the other benchmark indexes fell as Wall Street digested U.S. services activity data and a wider-than-expected trade deficit.
The S&P 500 was down 0.79%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.54%, and the Nasdaq slipped 1.3%.
Biotech stocks including Gilead Sciences (GILD), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), and Amgen (AMGN) were all lower, while the Health Care SPDR ETF (XLV) slid 1.2%. Apple (AAPL), Baidu (BIDU), Intel (INTC) and Google (GOOGL) dropped and the Technology SPDR ETF (XLK) fell 1.2%.
The U.S. trade deficit jumped to $51.4 billion in March, hitting a six-year high and far wider than an estimated $41.7 billion. Imports increased after the nine-month slowdown at West Coast ports caused a backlog of cargo that is now being cleared.
"We had a bad trade number this morning, (indicating) first quarter GDP actually negative," David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, told CNBC. "That might be part of the story."
The ISM services index climbed to 57.8 in April from 56.5 in March. Economists had expected the reading to remain unchanged month to month. The employment index increased to 56.7 from 56.6, a promising sign ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs report.
"While the firmer print is encouraging given the general disappointment in the pace of the economic rebound over the past few weeks, we believe last week's flat 51.5 print on the survey's manufacturing sector counterpart more accurately reflects the lackluster pace of economic improvement," said TD Securities' Gennadiy Goldberg.
Crude oil jumped above $60 a barrel for the first time since Dec. 11, 2014. Commodity prices were higher after protesters shut down a Libyan port, temporarily halting exports. Oil prices have plummeted since last summer as markets faced oversupply and weakening demand. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 3.4% to $60.94 a barrel.
"Protests have stopped crude flows to an eastern Libyan port, while the expectation of peaking U.S. production and higher demand for crude to refine into products as we move towards driving season has the bulls on the charge," said Schneider Electric commodity analyst Matt Smith.
Walt Disney (DIS) jumped 0.7% after reporting second-quarter earnings of $1.23 a share, up from $1.11 a year earlier. Revenue surged 7% to $12.46 billion. The better-than-expected results stemmed from a 24% increase in operating income at Walt Disney Parks due to higher ticket prices.
Sprint (S) was slightly lower after missing earnings estimates in its recent quarter. The telecom company said it had added 1.2 million net new customers over the quarter, its biggest increase in almost three years.
UBS (UBS) added 5.1% after reporting first-quarter profit nearly double a year earlier. The Swiss bank earned 1.98 billion Swiss francs ($2.12 billion), an increase from 1.05 billion francs a year earlier.
Kellogg (K) beat on the top- and bottom-line, though revenue sank 4.8% over the quarter. Breakfast food sales fell 2.9%, while snack revenue dropped 1.2%. Shares were down 1.5%.
Panera Bread (PNRA) is the latest company to announce measures to remove artificial sweeteners and flavors from its products. The move follows Pepsi's (PEP) decision to cut artificial sweeteners from its sodas and Chipotle's (CMG) removal of genetically-modified ingredients from its menu.
Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans is toeing the Fed's party line that weakness in the first quarter was merely transitory. In a speech on Monday, Evans said the risks associated with hiking interest rates too soon outweigh those of delaying any move until 2016.
"I likely will not feel confident enough to begin to raise rates until early next year," he said in remarks to the Columbus Economic Development Board.
The European Union increased its 2015 growth and inflation forecasts as the region's economic recovery gains traction amid monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank. Europe's growth forecast has been raised to 1.5% from 1.3%.