US President Donald Trump receives applause after signing bills at the White House on December 21. Photo: AFP/Jim Watson

US equities dropped again in New York on Friday as a chaotic atmosphere surrounded a last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 1.8%, marking the worst week for the benchmark since the 2008 financial crisis.

While the market moves in part reflect continued digestion of signals from the Federal Reserve, dysfunction in the nation’s capital has also weighed on sentiment.

Already contending with Democratic lawmakers in negotiations to fund the government, President Donald Trump was also blindsided with the resignation of his Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Thursday.

Mattis, along with former chief of staff John Kelly, was seen as one of the few steadying forces within the White House. After difficulty in finding candidates willing to be considered for Kelly’s position, Trump will now have to find a replacement for the country’s top defense official.

The president himself injected last-minute uncertainty into the question of funding the government on Friday, after he had earlier in the week agreed to stopgap legislation that would fund the government through the holidays.

Trump is demanding additional funding for a border wall, something Democratic senators have refused to support. At least nine Democrats in the chamber would need to vote for the bill for it to pass.

Should the two sides fail to agree to a temporary funding bill, non-essential federal government workers will be furloughed, while essential employees will have to work without pay.

Speaking at a bill signing on Friday, Trump said a shutdown was likely.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was defiant on the issue of the wall.

“President Trump: you will not get your wall,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Abandon your shutdown strategy. You’re not getting the wall today, next week or on January 3rd, when Democrats take control of the House.”

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