Why the 2019 Stock Market Is Already Looking Like 2018’s End

New year, same fears.

The stock market kicked off 2019 with sharp losses following a brutal period on Wall Street that saw the worst week of trading since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped upwards of 350 points at market open, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite retreated more than 1 percent in the first trading day of the year. (Markets were closed on Tuesday for New Year’s Day.)

Also affecting major stock indexes in Europe and Asia, the sell-off comes after a weaker-than-expected report from China revealed that the country’s broad manufacturing sector shrank in December for the first time in 19 months. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the index fell to 49.4 in December, from 50 in November, crossing the line between expansion and contraction. (The Shanghai Composite also recorded a 25 percent drop last year to become the worst-performing major market in the world.)

Fears of a global slowdown have contributed to ongoing volatility on Wall Street, coupled with political and economic concerns. Among the major issues are a trade war between the United States and China, as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which is scheduled for a parliamentary vote in mid-January. Market returns in 2019 could also be swayed by the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates as well as a potential tariff resolution between Washington and Beijing.

Last month, the Dow tumbled 9.7 percent, marking the largest single-month decline since February 2009 and its worst December since the Great Depression in 1931. A historic post-Christmas rebound did little to calm investors, who also witnessed a record-low year for U.S. stocks in the last decade. At year’s end, the Dow was 5.6 percent down, with the S&P shedding 6.2 percent and the Nasdaq at a 3.9 percent loss.

As of 11 a.m. ET, the Dow was down 100 points, or 0.43 percent, to 23,226.

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