Christmas Eve Sell-Off Smacks Dow Below 22,000

It was another brutal session for stocks as selling continued ahead of Tuesday's holiday

by Patrick Martin

Published on Dec 24, 2018 at 1:36 PM

Fresh off its worst week in 10 years, there was no Santa Claus rally for the Dow on Christmas Eve. The blue-chip index breached the 22,000 level for the first time since September 2017 during today's abbreviated, low-volume session, while the S&P narrowly avoided a close in bear-market territory. Amid fresh turmoil sparked by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's unprompted outreach to bank CEOs, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to continue his recent attacks on the Fed, saying: "The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch - he can’t putt!"

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • Another major warning for stocks from the transport sector, via CEO Bernie Schaeffer.
  • This gene editing stock popped on a big Vertex investment.
  • Plus, Tesla extends its pullback; a Chinese stock to avoid; and an Amazon rival poised to climb.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 21,792.20) ended 653.2 points lower, or 2.9%, at a new annual low. All 30 Dow components finished in the red. Home Depot (HD) incurred the least damage with a 1.5% drop. Nike (NKE) paced the laggards with a 5.9% fall.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,351.10) shed 65.5 points, or 2.7%, to settle at its own new annual low. The S&P is down 19.8% from its Sept. 20 closing high. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 6,192.92) dove 140.1 points, or 2.2%, and earlier touched a new annual low of 6,190.17. 

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 36.07) ended the day up 5.9 points, or 19.8%, for its highest close since Feb. 5.

closing indexes summary december 24

nyse and nasdaq stats december 24

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. Customs data released earlier today showed China imported zero soybeans from the U.S. in November for the first time since the trade war between the two global superpowers started. China, the world's largest soybean consumer, instead relied on Brazil for imports in November. (Reuters)
  2. In a small dose of good news, the Chicago Fed’s index of national economic activity rose by 0.2% in November to 0.22. However, the index's three-month moving average decreased to 0.06.  (MarketWatch)
  3. Another Model 3 price cut pressured Tesla shares.
  4. This Chinese stock just flashed a big bearish signal.
  5. It could be a strong start to the New Year for this Amazon rival.

There are no earnings to report.

unusual options activity december 24

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil Keeps Falling; Gold Climbs

Oil futures extended their recent losses today, falling alongside stocks in today's risk-off session. February-dated crude futures settled down $3.06, or 6.7%, at $42.53 per barrel.

Gold futures, on the other hand, climbed. The safe-haven asset got a boost from a weaker dollar and spiraling U.S. stocks. February-dated gold futures added $13.70, or 1.1%, to settle at $1,271.80 an ounce.

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