Dow Jones plunges 1,500 points
The stock market tumbled more than 1,000 points Monday, accelerating a rout that some analysts have dubbed the Trump correction, with investors fearing the economy could be overheating and that recent U.S. and international market bubbles were about to pop.
President Trump, who has repeatedly linked the record Wall Street run since his election to his tax and deregulatory policies, was at an Ohio factory talking up the economic boon from tax cuts Monday afternoon when the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 leading U.S. stocks took its worst loss in 6½ years.
The Dow closed at 24,345, falling 1,175 points, or 4.6 percent, and erasing all of the gains made this year after tax cuts that passed just before Christmas.
Broader market indexes were also down sharply. The S&P 500 lost 4.1 percent, the steepest decline since August 2011. Markets around the world, which also were buoyant in recent months, have been staggered by losses in recent days as well.
“It’s like a kid at a child’s party who, after an afternoon of cake and ice cream, eats one more cookie and that puts them over the edge,” said David Kelly, the chief global strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management.
Analysts say the U.S. economy’s fundamentals remain strong, corporate profits and wages are up and Mr. Trump’s tax cuts are set to provide at least a short-term burst of fuel for growth and investment. But the stock markets, they said, had outrun the market fundamentals, inflation fears are on the rise and a correction — typically defined as a 10 percent drop in the Dow — was overdue.
Some even said the downturn that began last week was healthy and that the sell-off, although jarring, was not a reason to panic. After all, the market had been running hot for 13 months.
The drop so far “is not enough to hurt the underlying economy,” Mickey Levy, chief economist at Berenberg Capital Markets, told Bloomberg News. “But is it enough to lead portfolio managers to reassess their valuations of stocks? Yes.”
The Dow had registered 81 record closings since Mr. Trump’s election in November 2016. The 1,100-point-plus drop also came on the first official day of Federal Reserve Board Chair Jay Powell, whose policy in the face of a possible pickup in inflationary pressures is unknown.
Mr. Trump, who often criticized the stock market’s gains under President Obama as indicative of a speculative bubble, didn’t mention the market correction while in Ohio. Instead, he focused on how the tax cuts spurred business growth, higher wages and bonuses for employees.
“When I signed the tax cut, six weeks ago, it set off a tidal wave of good news that continues to grow every single day,” he said. “Before the ink was dry, companies were announcing thousands and thousands of new jobs and enormous investments to their workers.”
The president has relished taking credit for the runaway bull market. On Monday, he was forced to take his lumps from a downturn.
Jay Carney, who served as White House press secretary for Mr. Obama, used the occasion to chide Mr. Trump.
“Good time to recall that in the previous administration, we NEVER boasted about the stock market — even though the Dow more than doubled on Obama’s watch — because we knew two things: 1) the stock market is not the economy; and 2) if you claim the rise, you own the fall,” he wrote on Twitter.
The slump represented the first major correction on Wall Street since Mr. Trump’s election in November 2016, a run-up that defied the predictions of many analysts. It was also the biggest one-day plunge since the 2008 financial crisis, and at one point in the afternoon was down more than 1,600 points.
On the way to Ohio, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah described the downturn as a short-term fluctuation in the stock market.
“The fundamentals of this economy are very strong, and they’re headed in the right direction — for the middle class, in particular,” said Mr. Shah.
After the markets closed, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that Mr. Trump’s focus “is on our long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong, with strengthening U.S. economic growth, historically low unemployment and increasing wages for American workers.”
Despite the drop Monday, the Dow is still up more than 30 percent since the 2016 presidential election.
The sell-off began Friday as investors worried about tightening labor markets and higher interest rates resulting from economic expansion and falling unemployment rates. Some analysts said the sell-off on Wall Street reflected traders’ desire to cash in on their gains and on the influence of computer-driven investment funds that were programmed to sell given economic and financial news.
“People who have been buying the dip are now going to be selling the rip,” Dennis Dick, a proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC in Las Vegas, told the Reuters news agency. “The psychology of the market changed today. It’ll take a while to get that psychology back.”
The U.S. was not alone. In Europe’s stock markets, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.4 percent to 7,343 while France’s CAC 40 slid 1.4 percent to 5,288. Germany’s DAX shed 1 percent to 12,654. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 tumbled 2.6 percent, and the South Korean Kospi shed 1.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sank 1.1 percent.
As bad as Monday’s drop was, the market had worse days during the financial crisis. The Dow’s 777-point plunge in September 2008 was equivalent to 7 percent, far bigger than Monday’s decline.
Stocks hadn’t suffered a 5 percent drop since the two days after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. They recovered those losses within days.
With markets in Asia already extending the bear market in early trading Tuesday morning, the psychology of the market may be more important than any hard financial data before the sell-off sentiment on display Monday can be tamed.
“Breaking the early lows of the day means the correction could go on for longer,” Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange, told the financial network CNBC.
⦁ Dave Boyer contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.
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