- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 505 points, or 2.1%, on Monday to finish at its lowest level since April.
- Traders were positioning themselves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, which is set to begin Tuesday and expected to produce the fourth interest-rate hike this year and ninth since the financial crisis.
- Watch the major US indexes trade in real time here.
US equity markets got slammed Monday, closing lower for a second straight day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 505 points, or 2.1%, closing at its lowest level since April. All 30 components finished in negative territory. The S&P 500 was down 2.08% and the Nasdaq was lower by about 2.27%.
Monday’s selling came as investors positioned themselves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, set to begin Tuesday. The central bank on Wednesday is widely expected to raise its fed funds rate to a range of between 2.25% and 2.5%. It would be the Fed’s fourth time this year raising interest rates and ninth time since the financial crisis.
The prospect of a rate hike drew the ire of President Donald Trump on Monday, as he fired off a tweet criticizing the Fed.
“It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike,” he wrote on Twitter. “Take the Victory!”
Bank stocks were fractionally lower on Monday, with the KBW Bank Index down 0.73% as the spread between the 2- and 10-year yields held near 16 basis points. A flattening yield curve hurts banks’ profitability, as it shrinks the spread between the rate at which banks borrow and the rate at which they lend.
Goldman Sachs fell 3.58% to near $166.50 a share, lagging its peers, after the investment bank and two of its former executives faced criminal charges in Malaysia over what the country called “grave violations” of its securities law relating to the scandal surrounding its $6.5 billion sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.
Elsewhere, stocks with healthcare exposure were hit hard after a federal judge late Friday ruled that the Affordable Care Act, the law better known as Obamacare, was unconstitutional. The decision is sure to be appealed and doesn’t immediately take effect, but Molina Healthcare (-10.12%), Community Health Systems(-13.78%), Tenet Healthcare (-6.69%), Centene (-5.29%), and HCA (-3.32%) were under pressure.
Oil prices also fell, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil down 4% to $49.20 a barrel, closing at its lowest level since October 2017.