Dow Crashes 600 Points as Debate Over Supreme Court Nomination Rages

The Dow Jones Industrial Average resumed its September selloff on Monday, as a spate of negative headlines weighed on investor sentiment.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A political battle between Democrats and Republicans is shaping up following the death of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Gader Ginsburg. Markets, already on edge, plunged after Monday's open. | Image: September 20, 2020. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by more than 600 points Monday morning.
  • Investors reacted to a spate of negative headlines, including leaked documents showing major financial institutions helped launder trillions in illicit funds.
  • The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg also reverberated sparked a debate about whether President Trump should choose her replacement on the Supreme Court before the November election.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market plunged anew on Monday, in a session marked by extreme volatility following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Plunge

All of Wall Street’s major indexes reported heavy losses at the start of trading, reflecting a volatile pre-market session for U.S. stock futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 600 points, or 2.1%, following the open.

dow jones, djia
The Dow is nursing heavy losses Monday. | Chart: Yahoo Finance

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks declined 1.9%, and the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.2%.

All 11 primary sectors tracked by the S&P 500 reported declines. Energy stocks plunged by nearly 4%. Heavy losses were also reported in the industrials, materials, and communication services sectors.

Financial stocks were also under pressure after leaked government documents showed major banks reported $2 trillion of suspicious activity over two decades. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, appears to have facilitated more than half of those transactions.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX surged on Monday, reaching levels last seen at the start of the month. The so-called “investor fear index” spiked 17% to 30.26 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average.

Ginsburg’s Death Sparks Fierce Debate

President Trump told Fox News on Monday that he will announce his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Friday or Saturday.”

Ginsburg passed away Friday at age 87 from pancreatic cancer. Watch the video:

The president said he is considering five potential nominees–all women–in a move that could give conservatives a large majority on the Supreme Court. Democrats are urging Republicans to block the appointment of a new judge until after the November election.

Two Republican senators have already confirmed they would oppose any nomination over the next seven weeks.

Ginsburg, who became a champion of the left for her stance on gender and civil liberties, might be replaced by a conservative judge ahead of a highly contentious election whose outcome could be determined by the Supreme Court.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden warned the nomination would spark a “constitutional crisis.” He said:

Don’t go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country,

Meanwhile, the Senate’s Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell is nailing down key votes to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible. On Sunday, McConnell swayed Tennesee Republican Lamar Alexander to confirm a replacement in the near term.

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Sam Bourgi

Sam Bourgi

Financial Editor of CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past decade focused on economics, markets, and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE, Yahoo Finance, and Forbes. Sam is based in Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at sam.bourgi@ccn.com or at LinkedIn. Visit his Muck Rack profile here. Sam Bourgi is a Trusted Journalist.

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