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December dip continues, Trump blasts Fed

NEW YORK (AP) — The major stock indexes fell more than 2 percent Monday, nudging the market closer to its worst year since 2008.

Stocks are also on track for their worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Great Depression. President Donald Trump lashed out at the Federal Reserve after administration officials spent the weekend trying to assure the public and financial markets that Jerome Powell’s job as Fed chairman was safe.

Trump says the only problem facing the U.S. economy is the Federal Reserve, which has raised its key short-term rate four times this year given the low unemployment rate and brisk pace of economic growth. The president is tweeting that Fed officials “don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders.”

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Trump has argued that the Fed is hindering the economy through its rate increases, which are intended to prevent inflation from rising too high.

On Wall Street, stocks had already been down but intensified their fall after Trump’s tweet.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 653 points on a holiday-shortened trading day, a total of 2.9 percent. The benchmark S&P 500 lost 2.7 percent and the Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent. Trading volume was low as the market closed early ahead of the Christmas holiday shutdown.

Japan’s main stock index has also plunged. The Nikkei 225 lost 5.1 percent on Tuesday to 19,147.45 points.

Tokyo and other major Asian markets are on track to end 2018 down at least 10 percent.

One analyst at the Wharton School of Business, attended by President Donald Trump, says Trump’s attacks on the Federal Reserve have proven to be a disaster.


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