Wall Street ended an up-and-down session with mixed results as investors remained jittery over an investigation into the White House and another slump in crude oil.
The S&P 500 was down 0.20%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.04%, and the Nasdaq rose slightly, by 0.01%. The Nasdaq reached an all-time intraday high of 5,915 earlier in the session before backing off, finishing at 5,901.
FBI director James Comey confirmed on Monday that the intelligence agency was investigating the Russian government's involvement in the election and will also look into ties with the Trump campaign. Intelligence agencies previously confirmed that Russian hackers had been involved in efforts to favor a Donald Trump win. Comey noted that Russia "wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt [Clinton], help him."
He also refuted Donald Trump's claims that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him, noting that he had "no information that supports (Trump's) tweets."
Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.) said during the committee's opening moments that "the Russians successfully meddled in our democracy, and our intelligence agencies have concluded they will do so again."
Crude oil also slumped on fears of a global rise in protectionism. West Texas Intermediate rose 0.6% last week, clawing its way back from the worst of losses a week earlier. Prices have been under pressure on signs of ballooning U.S. stockpiles and an uptick in global production.
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 1.2% to $48.22 a barrel on Monday.
The energy sector was one of the worst performers on markets Monday. Stocks including Schlumberger (SLB) , Halliburton (HAL) , Exxon Mobil (XOM) , and Transocean RIG each saw losses, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) declined 0.06%.
Deutsche Bank (DB) led the financials sector lower after announcing plans to issue 687.5 million in shares to raise 8 billion euros. A share price of 11.65 euros is 35% below Friday's trading levels. The bank also said it had cut staff bonuses by 80% last year following its second straight full-year loss.
Over the weekend, world finance leaders dropped a long-standing pledge to pursue free and open trade at the G20 meeting at the behest of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Trump administration. Scrapping the pledge to resist "all forms" of protectionism aligns with Donald Trump's push to put "America first," though Mnuchin later tried to downplay the shift by arguing that prior language was "not really relevant" and that Washington still supports free trade. A pledge to fight climate change also was removed at the G20 meeting.
"Mnuchin made the point earlier last week that the Trump administration has no desire for trade wars but does want certain trade relationships to be fairer for U.S. workers," Societe Generale's Michala Marcussen wrote in a note. "Exactly how this will be reflected in actual policy, however, remains uncertain with the future of NAFTA, a potential Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) and view on currency manipulation as the focal points ... Our baseline assumes that ultimately the U.S. politic bark will ultimately prove worse than the bite as more protectionism would hurt all, including U.S. households."
The U.K. has set March 29 as the date it will begin formally removing itself from the European Union by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Minister David Davis said in a statement that the U.K. was "on the threshold of the most important negotiation" of a generation as it prepares to determine the terms of its "Brexit." The U.K. voted to exit the EU last June in a shocking outcome that sparked fears of wider spread populism in Europe.
Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said on Monday that he could support as many as three rate hikes this year if the economic data remain supportive. "As I gain more confidence in the outlook, I could support three total this year," he told Fox Business. "It could be three, it could be two, it could be four if things really pick up," he added, noting that the pace relies on inflation trends. The Fed raised rates by 25 basis points last week, the third increase since 2008.
Walt Disney's (DIS) live-action Beauty and the Beast brought in a record haul in its weekend debut. The film was the best box office open of the year and the seventh-best on record, bringing in an estimated $170 million in North America. Beauty and the Beast is just one of several Disney movies reimagined as live action, following remakes of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book. Shares rose 0.87% and were among the best performers on the Dow.
Nike (NKE) rose 1.68% ahead of quarterly earnings scheduled for Tuesday. Analysts anticipate adjusted earnings of 53 cents a share for its February-ended quarter, according to FactSet. The athletic footwear brand earned an adjusted 55 cents a share in the same quarter a year earlier.
Wall Street Goes to Washington: In the first of a series of conversations with the President's economic advisors, acclaimed author and columnist Michael Wolff will sit down with Anthony Scaramucci, co-founder of private equity firm Skybridge Capital, to discuss the Trump administration, his thoughts on policies and regulations under debate and his outlook for the next four years. Join us for this cocktail party on Monday, March 27 at The Metropolitan Club in New York. The event is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information or to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.