It’s the opposite of an early Christmas gift.
When the markets closed early on Christmas Eve, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had shed 653 points for the day, or 2.9%, capping its worst weekly selloff since the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow has now sunk 11.8% since the start of the year, also putting it on track for its worst annual performance since 2008.
The market had trended down since October, but the slump truly kicked off after Thanksgiving. The Dow is down nearly 15% to date for the month of December. The S&P 500 has fallen a similar amount since the end of November.
Unable to take credit for a booming market any longer, US president Donald Trump has decided to blame the Federal Reserve for the recent downturn. Last week, Fed chair Jerome Powell raised interest rates but signaled that rate hikes could slow in 2019. Bloomberg reported that the latest hike, combined with intensified stock market losses, was enough to prompt Trump to investigate whether he could fire Powell.
Of course, Trump has a hand in the current instability. Trump chief of staff John Kelly was ousted and defense secretary James Mattis is on his way out Jan. 1, two months earlier than expected. The US government is on its third day of a partial shutdown that affects roughly 800,000 federal workers and even extinguished the national Christmas tree. All investors want for Christmas is a bit of stability—and it looks like they’ll be disappointed.