FRIDAY – Stocks fell for a third consecutive day Friday, exacerbating a week-long equity exodus that has pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index into a bear market and put the S&P 500 on track for its worst December since the Great Depression. The Federal Reserve’s rate hike on Wednesday drove the losses and fears of an extended government shutdown only added to the pain on Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150 points in turbulent trading that sent the blue-chip index up as much as 300 points earlier in the day, only to trade in negative territory less than one hour later. The initial tick upward came as Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said that the central bank could reassess its interest rate policy and balance sheet reduction in the new year if the economy slows. But those gains slowly disappeared as investors used that short-term pop as a chance to sell more. The broader S&P 500 fell 1 percent on Friday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1.8 percent.
Technology stocks led the sell-off again on Friday as they have since September. Facebook lost 5.3 percent, Apple lost 2 percent and Amazon lost 4.8 percent on Friday.
The Fed currently is allowing $50 billion a month to run off its massive debt balance sheet as its securities mature, tightening financial conditions. The balance sheet is mostly a collection of bonds the central bank purchased to vitalize the economy during and after the financial crisis.
Equities fell to their lows of the day in the previous session after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan announced that PresidentTrump would not sign a temporary government funding resolution without funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.