The S&P 500 is on the verge of tumbling by the most it has ever fallen on Christmas Eve



Never mind finding coal in your stocking for the holidays. Wall Street investors are on the verge of getting a rare – and unwanted – gift this year.

Indeed, if the S&P 500 index falls by at least 1% on Monday, it would mark the first Christmas Eve that the broad-market benchmark has booked a loss of 1% or greater – ever.

As it stands now, the S&P 500 was off by about 2% around midday, ahead of an early close, swept up in a selloff that also has the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index saddled with ugly losses on the day before Christmas.

Bespoke Investment Group noted this dubious S&P 500 record earlier in the day:

Prior to 2018, the S&P 500 had never declined more than 1% on the last trading day before Christmas.

– Bespoke (@bespokeinvest) December 24, 2018

That statistic has been confirmed by Dow Jones Market Data, which said the largest decline in the index on the trading day before Christmas was Dec. 23 in 1933.

The following graphic from Bespoke illustrates the index’s moves over the past 90 years or so:

Making a run for 1931.

– Bespoke (@bespokeinvest) December 24, 2018

U.S. stock indexes are set to close trading at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas.

Read: Mnuchin thinks there’s a simple reason the Dow is poised for its worst December since 1931

Read: Which stock and bond markets close, and when, for Christmas and New Year’s holidays

The current dynamic in the market has it set for its worst monthly and yearly decline about a decade, amid nagging concerns that the Federal Reserve is normalizing interest rates too rapidly, and that a continuing tariff dispute between China and the U.S. could devolve and help lead to a domestic recession, as international economies are already demonstrating signs of a slowdown.

Also stoking anxiety was a tweet from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to assess the health of the banking system, which has raised some questions about liquidity among those institutions that had not previously been raised. Treasury officials insist that the calls to bank executives was just a routine checkup.

Read: Opinion: Mnuchin can’t stand up to his boss – and it’s costing you money

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