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Update on the latest in business:

December 24, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks again close sharply lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks plunged during a shortened Christmas Eve session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 653 points following President Trump’s tweet attacking the Federal Reserve and its independence.

The Dow Jones lost 2.9 percent and the benchmark S&P500 lost 2.7 percent after the president’s tweet expressing frustration over the Fed’s decision to raise its key short-term rate.

The Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.74 percent.

Trading volume was low as the market closed early ahead of the Christmas holiday shutdown.

TRUMP-FEDERAL RESERVE

Trump says Fed is the economy’s only problem

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald 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.”

He adds, “The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch — he can’t putt!”

Trump has argued that the Fed is hindering the economy through its rate increases, which are intended to prevent inflation from rising too high. His major target for criticism has been Jerome Powell, whom the president elevated to chairman early this year.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

White House: Trump would accept less money for border wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Both sides in the long-running fight over funding President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall appear to have moved toward each other, but a shutdown of one-fourth of the federal government entered Christmas without a clear resolution in sight.

In fact, a top White House official warned the shutdown could stretch into January.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who is also the budget director, said he was waiting to hear from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York about a counteroffer the White House presented Schumer over the weekend.

Mulvaney would only say the offer was between Trump’s $5.7 billion request and $1.3 billion Democrats have offered.

“We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3,” Mulvaney said less than a day after a senior administration official insisted that Congress would have to cave into Trump’s demand for the shutdown to end, highlighting Trump’s unpredictable negotiating style.

Schumer’s office said the parties remained “very far apart.”

US-CHINA-TARIFFS

China’s legislature takes up law to ban forced tech transfer

BEIJING (AP) — China’s legislature is considering a law to ban local governments from forcing foreign companies to hand over technology, an issue that helped to spark Washington’s tariff war with Beijing.

Beijing has long denied companies are required to trade technology for market access. But officials including Premier Li Keqiang promised this year to crack down as tensions with Washington heated up.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a proposed foreign investment law taken up Sunday by the national legislature would make clear officials cannot “force the transfer of technology” as a condition of business ventures.

Washington and Beijing have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a dispute over American complaints China’s industry plans are based on theft of technology and violate its market-opening obligations.

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