Apple staff and customers, wearing facemasks to protect against the COVID-19 coronavirus, are seen on the shop premises in Beijing on February 22, 2020.
Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images
Amid the worst day for U.S. stocks since the 2008 financial crisis, the five most valuable tech companies lost $321.6 billion in value, with Apple accounting for almost one-third of that sum.
Shares of the iPhone maker plunged 7.9%. Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet each lost more than 6% and Amazon fell 5.3%. They had been among the biggest contributors to the market’s extended rally that lifted the S&P 500 to a record just last month, and now their declines are having an outsized impact on the broader index.
Monday’s market plunge, which sent the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to historic losses, was sparked by the ongoing spread of the coronavirus and tumbling oil prices. Saudi Arabia on Saturday cut official crude selling prices for April after OPEC talks collapsed a day earlier.
Only nine members of the S&P 500 ended the day in the green, and none were from the tech sector. On a percentage basis, the steepest drop among tech companies was IT services company DXC, which sank 18%, followed by Western Digital’s 13% drop. Tesla, which isn’t in the index, plummeted 14%.
For Big Tech, investors are concerned about a drop in economic activity and business spending if the coronavirus can’t be contained. Companies have been canceling large events, restricting travel and encouraging employees to work from home. Last week, Amazon said an employee in one of its Seattle offices tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday, Microsoft said two of its employees had also been diagnosed with coronavirus.
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