Fed attempt at calming markets fails
Wall Street plunge continues
22 December 2018
Wall Street had another wild day yesterday with the Dow ending down by 415 points, after rising by almost 400 points in the opening hours of trading. The S&P 500 index fell by 2 percent and the NASDAQ was down by 2.99 percent, capping the worst week for Wall Street since October 2008.
The Dow lost 1655 points for the week, a decline of 6.8 percent, its worst percentage drop since the onset of the financial crisis a decade ago, the NASDAQ lost 8.3 percent for the week and is now 22 percent below its high last August and the S&P fell by 7 percent and is now down 17.8 percent from its high.
Both the S&P and the Dow are on track for their worst December performance since December 1931, amid the Great Depression.
Bloomberg published an article noting that currently 38 percent of stocks are trading at 52-week lows. Since 1984, there have only been eight days when a larger proportion of stocks traded at those levels. Two of them took place during the October 1987 crash, when the Dow fell 23 percent in a day, with the rest occurring in October and November 2008.
The brief rally was set off by an interview with New York Federal Reserve president John Williams with the business channel CNBC in which he said the Fed was going into 2019 with eyes “wide open” and was willing to reassess its outlook for the economy and by implication its monetary policy.
He had clearly been given a brief to calm the markets after their adverse reaction to Wednesday’s decision to lift interest rates by 0.25 percent and indicate that the Fed was taking note. He defended the rate rise, based on the assessment that the economy would continue to grow next year, but said the Fed was paying close attention…