U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Monday, deepening annual losses, ahead of the final Federal Reserve policy meeting of the year and amid continued worries about the impact a trade war with China may have on the U.S. economy. At the lows of the afternoon the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen more than 600 points.
Amid the volatility, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are all sitting in negative territory for the 2018 year, the first down year since 2015. The Russell 2000, a basket of smaller U.S. based companies, closed in bear market territory.
The Nasdaq Composite erased its 2018 gains in Monday's sell-off, leaving only the Nasdaq 100 among the closely followed stock averages that remain positive for 2018.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||33821.3||-256.33||-0.75%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||13786.268055||-128.50||-0.92%|
Investors are jockeying ahead of the two-day Fed policy meeting, which begins on Tuesday and ends with a decision on interest rates and a press conference on Wednesday. The anticipated Fed rate hike is also fueling concerns that central bankers may be overly aggressive in tightening next year. On Monday President Trump yet again threw shade on policy makers for contemplating what would be the fourth rate hike of 2018, despite low inflation.
Speaking of inflationary metrics, U.S. crude settled below the $50 per barrel level on Monday for the first time in about 14 months. Oil has come under tremendous pressure lately as fears about slowing global growth add to worries about a global supply glut. Oil prices also face headwinds from a stronger U.S. dollar.
In Europe, London’s FTSE traded down 0.5 percent, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.5 percent and France’s CAC was lower by 0.6 percent.
In Asian markets on Monday, China’s Shanghai Composite ended the day up 0.2 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended the session flat.
Japan’s Nikkei average finished the day up 0.6 percent.