landsberg bennettStocks finished firmly lower Monday. The Dow tumbled 653 points to 21,792, notching its worst Christmas Eve performance on record. The S&P 500 lost 65 points to 2,351, putting the index within 0.3% of bear market territory. The Nasdaq Composite slid 140 points to 6,192.

The major averages declined for a fourth consecutive session amid political uncertainty. Comments from President Trump attributing the recent market downturn to the Federal Reserve, prompted renewed concern surrounding reports over the weekend the President may be looking to replace Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The government shutdown, which started Friday evening, also weighed on investor sentiment as the Trump administration warned it could last into January. On the data front, the lone economic report from the Chicago Fed showed national economic activity eased slightly in November compared to October.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors ended the session down more than 2.0%. Energy was a notable decliner as WTI crude lost 3.3% to $44.07/barrel. In corporate news, Financials remained under pressure despite comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that top executives at the six largest U.S. banks confirmed of ample liquidity for regular market operations. Meanwhile, Tesla sank 7.6% to $295.39 after cutting the price of its Model 3 in China.

Breadth was negative on issues by 6:1 on the NYSE and by 3:1 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 2.5 billion shares.

Perceived “safe-haven” assets rallied with Treasuries strengthening with the yield on the 10-year note down four basis points to 2.75%. COMEX gold hit a 6-month high, gaining 1.1% to $1,267.50/ounce amid a weaker dollar.