US stock indexes tumbled today, posting their worst losses in nearly three weeks. There were a wide number of reasons for the fall, starting with the slide in financials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 234 points, with 55 points of that loss coming solely from the drop in Goldman Sachs’ share price. Bank stocks overall were down over 2% on numerous exchanges.
Continued policy uncertainty within the White House played a role too, as news that one of President Trump’s closest advisers, his former bodyguard Keith Schiller, will be leaving the White House. That points to a White House in which President Trump is increasingly embattled and encircled, with the Chief of Staff John Kelly clamping down on the flow of information within the White House. The fear is that President Trump’s increasing isolation will make it less likely for him to advance his policy agenda.
Making investors even more anxious was heightened uncertainty surrounding North Korea, which conducted a nuclear test over the weekend, detonating a nuclear bomb. Japan has already made plans to evacuate its citizens from South Korea in the event that the situation worsens, while China has made it clear that it will not accept any military action on the Korean peninsula.
Domestic concerns include the effects of continued oil refinery shutdowns on the domestic economy in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which may well have to continue given the fact that Hurricane Irma is now bearing down on Florida and could further affect operations in the Gulf of Mexico.