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US stocks fall sharply ... Mulvaney: Gov’t shutdown could stretch into January ... Oil prices continue to slide

December 24, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fell sharply in early trading today, extending losses for the market after its worst week in more than seven years. Technology companies, health care stocks and banks took some of the heaviest losses in the broad sell-off. At 10:55 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 fell 22 points, to 2,394. The Dow lost 232 points, to 22,213. The Nasdaq skidded 22 points, to 6,311.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wednesday will be the first day the public could begin to feel the effects of lost U.S. government services because of the partial shutdown. Following the Christmas holiday, the routines of about 800,000 federal employees are about to be disrupted. And acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who is also the budget director, says the shutdown could stretch into January. There’s a stalemate over funding for President Donald Trump’s wall, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer’s office has said the parties remain “very far apart.”

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices, which have sunk on concerns about the state of the global economy and also oversupply in the market, continue to slide. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 2.1 percent to $44.61 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 1.2 percent to $53.16 a barrel in London. The decline in oil prices weighed on energy stocks. Hess slumped 6.9 percent to $38.61.

UNDATED (AP) — China’s legislature is proposing a law that would mean that local Chinese governments could no longer force foreign companies to trade their technology for market access. Forced technology transfer is one issue Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 to negotiate as part of a cease-fire in their tariff war.

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Bank of Israel’s new governor says the country’s financial stability should not be taken for granted in a period of “numerous changes in financial markets.” Amir Yaron took office today following several weeks of volatility in Israeli and international markets. At a ceremony today, Yaron said his immediate challenge is “the normalization of monetary policy.” He says he views the interest rate as “the main and most effective tool” for directing such policy.

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