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Japan stocks plunge, other Asian markets fall after losses in US



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Joe McDonald, The Associated Press

Published Tuesday, December 25, 2018 07:40 EST

Last Updated Tuesday, December 25, 2018 09:12 AM EST

BEIJING (Reuters) – Japanese stock markets tumbled on Tuesday and other Asian markets fell after Wall Street's heavy losses triggered by President Donald Trump's criticism of the US central bank.

The Nikkei 225 fell by an exceptionally wide margin of 5% to 19,155.14. The Shanghai Composite Index finished 0.9 percent at 2,504.82 after falling to 2.3 percent at noon. Benchmarks in Thailand and Taiwan also declined.

Markets in Europe, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea were closed for Christmas.

Wall Street indexes fell more than 2 percent on Monday, after Trump said on Twitter that the Federal Reserve was the "only problem" in the US economy. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's efforts to calm investors' fears only seemed to worsen the situation.

US stocks are in their worst month of December since 1931, during the Great Depression.

Shanghai has dropped almost 25% this year. Tokyo, Hong Kong and other markets are on the way to ending 2018 more than 10 percent.

Markets are shaken by concerns about the slowdown in the global economy, the US-China price battle, and another Fed interest rate hike.

Trump's morning tweet has raised fears that the economy will be destabilized by a president who wants control of the Fed. His board members are appointed by the president, but they make decisions independently of the White House. The chairman of the board, Jerome Powell, was appointed by Trump last year.

"The only problem our economy has is the Fed," the president said on Twitter. "They have no idea of ​​the market, they do not understand the Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even the Democratic Stops on the Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can not score because he has no touch," he said. can not putt! "

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.7%. The benchmark index fell 19.8 percent from its peak on September 20, close to the 20 percent drop that would officially signify the end of the largest stock market in modern history – a nearly 10-year run.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.9 percent, while the Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent.

On Sunday, Mnuchin made a round of calls to the heads of the six largest US banks, but the move only raised new concerns about the economy.

Most economists expect US economic growth to slow in 2019 and not fall into a full recession. But the president expressed his anger over the Fed's decision to raise its short-term rate four times in 2018. The goal is to prevent the overheating of the economy.

Tech stocks, healthcare companies and banks suffered some of the biggest losses in Monday's settlement. Wells Fargo fell 3.4%, Microsoft 4.2% and Johnson & Johnson 4.1%.

US markets reopen Wednesday.

In energy markets, Brent, used to price international oils, lost 9 cents to $ 50.68 a barrel in London. The contract plummeted $ 3.33 on Monday, closing at $ 50.77.

In exchange, the dollar fell to 110.28 yen from 110.45 yen Monday. The euro was little changed at $ 1.1407.

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