Wall Street sheds 1%

US stocks extend last week's losses at close, tech firms the worst performers.

US stocks have closed sharply lower as investors strike a cautious note ahead of earnings season. The hardest hit were tech stocks, while the S&P 500 was home to its worst three-day span since late-January.

At the 6am (AEST) market close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 166.84 points, or 1.02%, to 16,245.87.

The broad-based S&P 500 weakened 20.05 points, or 1.08%, to 1,845.04, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 47.97 points, or 1.16%, to 4,079.75.

The Nasdaq was also a laggard on Friday, yielding 2.6% in one trading day. It followed a recent span when the tech-focussed index underperformed the Dow and the S&P 500 for six straight trading days.

There was little in the way of data to interest markets, with investors largely taking their leads from last Friday's mixed jobs data, largely upbeat comments from Federal Reserve member James Bullard and news of further unrest in Ukraine.

The weakness on US markets followed a soft day in Europe, with the main indices losing over 1%.

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