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Markets Nose-Dive, but Close Off Lows

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We started off 3+ weeks ago seeing what we believed at the time to be some profit-taking after a highly successful summer of 2020 in the stock market, culminating in all-time record high closing prices on both the Nasdaq and S&P 500. Now, going into our fourth week of markets in the red, it’s becoming harder to hang onto “profit taking” as the sole purveyor of this continued negative sentiment in the market.

There are some news headlines bringing a more consistent bearishness to sentiment lately — from a dreaded second wave of coronavirus cases sweeping through Europe and international banks now accused of money laundering to yet another tropical storm (Beta — we’ve run out of first names, with hurricane season still a month or two from being completed) dumping a dozen feet of water onto the Gulf Coast, and tensions up in Washington DC revolving around whether to seat a new Supreme Court justice a month and a half before a General Election leading to a stalemate on a new stimulus package — but if we’re looking for a silver lining, Monday’s close was well off its lows.

The Dow had hit its nadir down 942 points earlier in the session, but came back to finish “only” -509.7, or -1.84%. The S&P 500 performed better, down 38 points or -1.16%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq saw a return to buying at Apple (AAPL - Free Report) and Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) , which nearly broke the index back to even: -0.13%, or 14.5 points. Only the Russell 2000 felt the impact of the worse carnage the others experienced mid-session; it fell 3.35% on the day.

All banks were lower — even those not implicated in the vast global money-laundering scheme reported earlier, accounting for an estimated $2 trillion in assets from 1999 to 2017. HSBC (HSBC - Free Report) , which was one of the banks mentioned, fell 5% in regular trading Monday. JPMorgan (JPM - Free Report) only dropped 3.5%, even though it was reportedly part of the same scandal; Morgan Stanley (MS - Free Report) , which was not named, also dropped 3.5%.

The remainder of this week brings us economic data on Existing and New Home Sales, Manufacturing and Services PMI, Durable Goods Orders and, of course, Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims. We also will have a slew of commentary from representatives of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) following its two-day meeting last week. The FOMC disappointed markets last week by not adding any new financial stimulus to the economy, though Fed Chair Jay Powell did say he expects zero interest rates to continue for the next three years.

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