U.S. stocks sink as historic rally falters; oil slips

Michael Nagle  Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 45 points, or 3.6 percent, 1,312.

United States stock markets struggled to build a post-Christmas rally on Wednesday morning, recovering some of the ground they lost after their worst ever performance on Christmas Eve.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 141 points, or 2.2 percent, to 6,411. The benchmark S&P 500 gained 5pc or 116 points to 2,467. Data released by Mastercard SpendingPulse showed that retailers had their best holiday season in six years.

Many have noted that the increase in lightning-quick computerized trading has exacerbated swings in the market, making it hard for market participants to gauge sentiment.

Trading volume was lighter than usual following the Christmas holiday.

"I think we will probably end up finishing the year going up, unless something insane happens", he said in an interview a day before the Fed's most recent decision to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the benchmark ASX 200 index grew almost 1.9 percent in Sydney. Investors also welcomed assurances by Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, that Jerome Powell's job is "100 per cent" safe.

A partial government shutdown, worries that President Trump may fire Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell and confusing remarks from Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin about USA banks sent shares plunging on Monday. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has suffered its worst December on record. The shaky trading followed a 5% plunge on Christmas Day that dragged the Japanese index into a bear market.

Separately, Reuters reported Trump is considering an executive order in the new year that would bar usa companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE.

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Badr Bin Sultan has been appointed Deputy Emir of Makkah and Eman Al-Mutairi as assistant minister of commerce. Turki al-Sheikh has been moved to a new portfolio heading up the entertainment authority.

Stocks set fall after Steven Mnuchin’s odd statement fails to calm markets
Mnuchin's statement on banks caused many to worry about banks, despite there having been no concerns about banks. After another brutal day on Monday, the Dow is 18.8%, or 5,036 points, off its peak reached on September 20.

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There are no longer concerns of the tower collapsing, police say. "A few days ago the doors looked different". Police "identified there was a crack in the building", he added, alerting emergency services.

The stock market deepened its rout after the Fed's rate hike and its decision to let its massive balance sheet shrink at the current pace.

Europe's major stock markets kicked lower today as investors shrugged off bumper Wall Street gains, cashed in recent profits and eyed mounting uncertainties on the horizon of the global economy.

Following the opening bell, individual stocks getting battered included Viacom (4.1 percent), Conagra (3.1 percent), Campbell Soup Co.

"Markets are becoming more rattled by criticism of the Fed", said Kristina Hooper, Invesco chief global market strategist.

Further afield, worries that the Chinese economy is slowing more sharply than expected and that eurozone growth has been sluggish also weighed on trading throughout December.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.57 yen from 110.41 yen on Monday.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 4.52-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.65-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The euro rose to $1.1397 from $1.1353.

In that time, the S&P 500 quadrupled, the Dow did nearly as well, and the tech-laden Nasdaq index climbed 500 per cent, before starting their current declines.

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