March 19, 2018 / 2:13 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Nasdaq drops 1 pct as Facebook leads slide in tech stocks

* Facebook shares 5 pct slide after reports of data misuse

* Indexes down: Dow 0.56 pct, S&P 0.59 pct, Nasdaq 1.01 pct

* Tech stocks drop 1.2 pct, with FAANG stock leading losses

* Industrials dip as G-20 meet looms, with tariffs in focus

* Investors also cautious ahead of Fed meet starting Tuesday (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar

March 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Monday, with the Nasdaq dropping more than 1 percent, as Facebook’s shares tumbled about 5 percent on reports that data of 50 million users were misused.

Facebook shares dropped, on track for their worst day in 16 months, on media reports that a political consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users.

The S&P technology index, which has powered the stock market’s near relentless rally, retreated 1.2 percent.

Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet – all part of the so-called FAANG group of heavyweight stock, along with Facebook – were down between 0.7 percent and 2.25 percent.

The Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, over Tuesday and Wednesday, is also in focus as investors brace for a near-certain interest rate hike this week and watch out for clues on the path of rate hikes.

While it is near certain that the Fed will raise rates by a quarter basis point on Wednesday, investors are more focused on whether policymakers think economic conditions are strong enough for four hikes this year, one more than the markets expect.

“I don’t think anyone’s expecting any surprises (from the Fed) ... but the bigger factor has been the surrounding the big technology companies, particularly Facebook,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“Just a re-examination of whether or not there are issues out there for all of the tech companies, regulatory or otherwise. They’ve been such leaders that it’s spilling over into the general markets.”

At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.01 percent at 7,406.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.56 percent at 24,806.6 and the S&P 500 fell 0.59 percent at 2,735.68.

All 11 S&P sectors were lower. Industrial stocks were again under pressure, falling 0.7 percent ahead of the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting, where a key issue likely to be discussed is President Donald Trump’s tariff plans.

Apple slipped 0.7 percent after brokerage Nomura Instinet said its checks showed there was little improvement in demand for iPhones this year and lowered its sales estimate for the smartphone.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.68-to-1 ratio and for a 2.85-to-1 ratio, on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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