Markets had trouble digesting a news-filled week from Washington to Silicon Valley.
As Wall Street readies to turn the corner on the last week in both March and in the first quarter of the year, investors absorbed scandal at a Silicon Valley darling, mixed markets and the threat of a trade war.
Here are the most important stories you can't miss from this week.
Markets Haven't Found Footing
The Dow fell 1,100 points in the last two sessions of the week and the Nasdaq Composite dropped back below the 7,000 point threshold Friday. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was just 0.5% away from correction levels.
Do we need to say anymore?
Facebook's Big Fat Flop
The stock market's troubles this week were rooted in a number of stories that spooked investors. Early in the week, Action Alerts Plus holding Facebook Inc. (FB) was the major weight pulling markets lower. News broke that data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information from as many as 50 million Facebook users to influence elections in the U.S. and the U.K.
Wall Street was riled by the scandal, as Facebook stock fell 12% in the past five days. But the ire spread to Facebook users, too, as the hashtag "#DeleteFacebook" took over on social media.
Investors were also irked that Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg didn't make a public comment on the issue until Wednesday. By the time he made a statement, Facebook shares had already lost 8.5% of their value. At the low, the company handed back as much as $60 billion of its value.
Facebook's significant troubles spread like a disease into the broader tech and social media sectors. The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) fell 7% for the week, while the Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL) also slid 7% by the market close on Friday.
Another Trump Trade War Threat
Also threatening market stability this week was the looming possibility of a trade war with China. On Thursday, President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum levying as much as $60 billion in new retaliatory tariffs against China in a bid to thwart intellectual property theft in the country. "The word that I want to use is reciprocal," Trump said at a briefing Thursday, March 22.
The presidential memo directs the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Treasury Department to enact "what could be" $60 billion in tariffs to offset what the trade representative's office found to be about $48 billion in harm done toward the U.S. via Chinese trade practices.
The tariff announcement came after a roughly eight-month investigation into intellectual property theft from China. The issue has long been a concern for U.S.-China trade relations, but this was the first time the Trump administration has directly targeted China with a major trade sanction. Earlier item-specific trade sanctions have applied to numerous countries instead of just one.
China, of course, responded quickly with tariffs of its own.
Fed Hikes Rates
In its first meeting under new Chairman Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates Wednesday, increasing borrowing costs for the sixth time since late 2015 in a bid to keep inflation from rising too fast as the economy accelerates. The Fed had previously held the rate close to zero from 2008 through 2015 in a bid to revive the economy and markets following the financial crisis.
Powell reiterated the strength of the U.S. economy, raised the forecast for GDP growth and acknowledge concerns regarding inflation. He also touched on the possible threat a trade war might represent for U.S. financial markets. Stocks initially rose as the Fed made its announcement, but later fell as Powell testimony continued.
Dropbox Scores an IPO Win
Shares of data storage firm Dropbox (DBX) popped more than 40% on Friday as it debuted on the Nasdaq. They finished the session up 35%. With 500 million plus users, a good revenue growth story to tell and a lack of tech IPOs of late it's no surprise Dropbox was welcomed.
Dropbox chief operating officer Dennis Woodside told TheStreet's Executive Editor Brian Sozzi the company's growth prospects are solid, despite tough competition from Action Alerts Plus holdings Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOGL) .
"We massive opportunities to scale our business," Woodside said when asked why investors shoudl buy Dropbox's stock. While Dropbox has been slow to get users to pay for its service (11 million paid users per its prospectus), Woodside the company has made progress over time trading people up via new features.
Watch more from the interview below.