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USA stocks claw back some of their big losses; oil slides

21 December 2018

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 507.53 points, or 2.11 percent, to 23,592.98, the S&P 500 lost 54.01 points, or 2.08 percent, to 2,545.94 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 156.93 points, or 2.27 percent, to 6,753.73. All three indexes - Dow, S&P and Nasdaq - are in correction mode. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 1 percent higher at 6,769. Health care companies also fell sharply.

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In addition, the German Ifo economic institute's business climate index fell for the fourth month in a row to its lowest level in more than two years and Japan's government revised down its economic growth forecasts. The index is down 10 percent this year and is set for its worst year in a decade.

Wall Street's major indexes all slid more than 2 percent on Monday, with the benchmark S&P 500 closing at its lowest in 14 months, on concerns about slowing economic growth ahead of a highly anticipated decision from the Federal Reserve this week on the course of USA interest-rate hikes. More interest though will be on the statement accompanying the decision and the press conference of Fed Chair Jerome Powell. That's chopped oil prices by one-third since early October. "It wouldn't be hard to have a rally, given how far we have gone down since late September".

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ITALY: There was also some relief, particularly in Europe, that Italy had reached an agreement with the European Commission on its budget plans, which the EU's executive arm had warned could break the euro's rules and lead to legal action. Stocks will need a bump higher these last two weeks to finish in the black. At this rate, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 are on track for their worst December since the Great Depression in 1931.

President Donald Trump, who previously touted stock market gains during his presidency, has publicly urged the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates, which can slow economic growth.

The price of oil continued to slide, a day after closing below $50 a barrel for the first time in over a year.

"If the Fed doesn't raise rates it will look like it's succumbing to the bullying of Trump's tweets", Arone said.

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"The economy is growing without inflation", said Navarro, calling on the Fed not to raise interest rates.

An indication that the Fed would slow its pace of interest-rate hikes could calm markets, but the U.S. central bank's intentions remain unclear, said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"I'm pretty sure this is a bear market", Gundlach said on CNBC's "Halftime Report".

"That is basically retail investors panicking", said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide Investment Management. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States and China are planning to hold meetings next month to seek a trade truce.

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Boeing rose 4.4 percent to $330.12.

USA stocks claw back some of their big losses; oil slides