Wall Street has suffered the worst start to December since 1980, with stocks showing no sign of recovery before the holidays. The Dow and the S&P 500 are heading toward their worst final month since the Great Depression.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost has 507 points, closing more than two percent lower on Monday. The S&P 500 lurched to a 14-month low, also showing more than a two percent loss for the day.
The selloff continued on the Asian markets, with Japan’s Nikkei slumping by 1.8 percent on Tuesday. China’s Shanghai Composite closed almost one percent lower.
Analysts explain the market’s bad performance by investor fears over the cooling economy and lack of signs on the US-China trade dispute settlement. Fears of the expected interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve became one of the major forces driving the market’s volatile behavior in the last few months. US president Donald Trump put pressure on the Fed on Monday, arguing it would be madness to raise interest rates.
“It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation… the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike,” Trump tweeted.
“With increased stock market volatility and signs of slower growth overseas, there are increasing calls for the Fed to halt its rate increases,” wrote David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “This is where the Fed needs to keep its head first, because current Fed policy is neither too aggressive nor too tight and second, because a change of course at this point could undermine confidence.”
December is typically a very positive month for markets, with a “Santa Claus” rally propelling stocks upward at the end of the year. This time experts warn that if the current downward trend continues, the S&P and the Dow will have their worst December performances since the Great Depression of 1931.
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