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Netflix, other tech stocks lead market lower

NEW YORK – A sell-off in technology stocks Monday pulled the broader market lower as investors unloaded some of the biggest names in the industry.

Netflix fell 7 percent, Facebook fell almost 5 percent, and Google and Amazon.com each fell more than 2 percent.

Tech stocks have soared over the past year, pushing the Nasdaq composite index up 30 percent over the past 12 months, more than twice as much as the Dow Jones industrial average. Netflix and Facebook have doubled in price in that time.

“The big highfliers have done really well, and so I think there’s been some profit-taking,” said Randy Warren, chief investment officer of Warren Financial Service.

The Nasdaq lost 50.4 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 4,226.39. Other indexes also fell, but not as much. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 9.08 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,857.44. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 26.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,276.69.

Stocks drifted lower early Monday as traders feared that sanctions against Russia could tip the world’s ninth-largest economy into recession. Investors were also reacting to news that Russian troops had seized Ukrainian ships and military installations in the Crimean peninsula. Russia annexed the region last week.

Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union are pushing Russia toward a recession as the intensity of their economic penalties increases after the annexation of Crimea earlier this month.

Banks including state-run VTB Capital say the world’s ninth-biggest economy will shrink for at least two quarters as penalties for annexing Crimea rattle markets, curb investment and raise the cost of borrowing. Sanctions that have so far focused on individuals via visa bans and asset freezes may be expanded to target specific areas of the economy.

Biotechnology stocks, another sector that has soared over the past year, extended a decline that began Friday after U.S. lawmakers questioned the pricing of a hepatitis C drug made by Gilead Sciences.

A popular fund tracking biotech stocks, the iShares Nasdaq Biotech ETF, fell 3 percent on Monday. It’s been up 53 percent over the past 12 months.

“It’s the richest part of the market, so ... you’re going to get nervousness,” said Jerry Webman, chief economist of Oppenheimer Funds.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, maker of the rare-disease drug Soliris, declined 6.3 percent to $149.76. Biogen Idec Inc., producer of multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex, slipped 1.9 percent to $312.60.

Tesla fell 3.8 percent to $220.17. The electric automaker had the best performance in the Nasdaq 100 this year through the end of last week, with a 52 percent jump.

NetApp Inc. fell 3.2 percent to $36.58. The maker of data-storage equipment was cut to underweight, an equivalent of sell, from equalweight by Morgan Stanley. The company’s cost cuts may not be enough to expand margins amid increased competition, analyst Katy Huberty said in a note.

Among stocks making big moves:

• Apple bucked the downward trend in technology stocks. The company rose after the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is in talks with the giant cable provider Comcast to offer a streaming video service. Apple rose $6.32, or 1 percent, to $539.19.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.73 percent.