Investing.com – It was Scrooge, not Santa, who ruled Christmas Eve on Wall Street, as stocks tumbled on concerns about Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin raising the question of bank liquidity.
The Dow Jones fell about 2.9%, more than 650 points. The S&P 500 lost about 2.64%, moving to to right at bear market territory, while the Nasdaq Composite, which was already there, fell about 2.2%.
All of the S&P 500 sectors were in the red, with the S&P 500 Utilities index the biggest loser, dropping about 4.3%. And every Dow component closed lower.
Mnuchin spoke with the chief executive officers of the six largest U.S. banks Sunday, who confirmed they have enough liquidity to continue lending and that "the markets continue to function properly."
But Mnuchin’s statement raised worries rather than allayed them, as few in the market were concerned about liquidity in the first place.
"It seems unexpected, abrupt and unnecessary," said Michael Purves, chief global strategist at Weeden & Co.
"We are not in a crisis. Compared to 2008, the economic data is like at the other end of the spectrum. We have banking stability, we have volatile but functioning markets. We had an ugly December but it's not a function of any systemic thing along those lines."
The partial federal government shutdown also weighed on stocks as it looks increasingly likely the impasse will continue into the new year.
"The main factor on investors' minds is the government shutdown and what the resolution can be,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital. “It's really fear of the unknown that has given investors grief."
Looking to individual stocks, tech took it on the chin again.
Among the FAANGs, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was off 2.4% following a report from The Wall Street Journal that it is among a number of companies being questioned about its revenue, specially its Amazon Prime revenue, by the SEC.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) slumped 5%, despite a report from The Guardian that it will surpass satellite broadcaster Sky in subscribers in the UK.
And Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) fell 0.7%. Wedbush took the stock off its Best Ideas list, but maintained its outperform rating.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell 2.55%, while Alpahbet dropped 0.6%.