Wall Street swoons as government shutdown deadline looms

US stocks sink after Fed rate hike, Dow swings over 700 points to close down 1.5%

Dow sinks another 464 points as slowdown fears worsen

Wall Street fell in volatile trading on Friday, after a few failed attempts at a rally, led by a drop in technology and other high-growth sectors, while defensive stocks rose amid concerns of slowing growth and a looming government shutdown. All of the major indexes...

The index is now down more than 10 percent for December, putting it on track for its worst monthly loss in nearly a decade. CNBC reports that companies in the S&P 500 have lost a total of $2.39 trillion in market cap in December.

Investors have responded to a weakening outlook for the USA economy by selling stocks and buying ultra-safe US government bonds.

With December 21's losses, the Nasdaq has fallen almost 22 percent from its August 29 high. And rising interest rates in the US could slow its economy even more.

Elliot Clarke, economist at Westpac, the banking group, added: "Political brinkmanship in Washington is further heightening market uncertainty".

Among other threats: the trade dispute between the USA and China, and rising US interest rates, which act as a brake on economic growth by making it more expensive for businesses and individuals to borrow money.

Williams' comments come after the Fed said on Wednesday it would largely stick to its plan to keep raising interest rates, spooking investors already grappling with mounting evidence of slowing growth and triggering the slide on Wall Street.

Major indexes fell more than 1 percent in midday trading Thursday, bringing their losses over the previous six days to about 6 percent.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 2.8 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 1 percent.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business on Thursday afternoon that the market's reaction to the Fed was "completely overblown".

The Dow fell 1,655.14 points, or 6.9 per cent.

Wren said investors felt Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came off as unconcerned about the state of the USA economy and fears that the economy could not just slow down, as expected, but go into a recession in 2019 or 2020. The NASDAQ Composite, while flirting with bear market territory earlier in the session, also finished at its lowest since October 2017.

The S&P 500 fell 39 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2,467.

Oil prices continued to retreat.

As recently as October, yields had been at a seven-year high of 3.261 percent. That sent the price of gold higher, and it gained 0.9 percent to $1,267.9 an ounce.

The stock markets in France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Tokyo and Hong Kong also fell.

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