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Global Markets Slide, Setting the Stage for Another Drop on Wall St. Global Markets Slide, Setting the Stage for Another Drop on Wall St.
(35 minutes later)
HONG KONG — Global markets shuddered on Thursday after a drop in stocks in the United States crystallized investors’ anxiety about a growing list of global risks, including rising interest rates, increased tensions between Beijing and Washington, and Italy’s increasingly unsustainable government debt.HONG KONG — Global markets shuddered on Thursday after a drop in stocks in the United States crystallized investors’ anxiety about a growing list of global risks, including rising interest rates, increased tensions between Beijing and Washington, and Italy’s increasingly unsustainable government debt.
Stocks were particularly hard hit in Asia, where no market was spared a sweeping sell-off. Stocks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong dropped 4 percent or more in a punishing session of trading.Stocks were particularly hard hit in Asia, where no market was spared a sweeping sell-off. Stocks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong dropped 4 percent or more in a punishing session of trading.
In Europe, major stock indexes fell less drastically — by about 1.5 percent — only because markets had already been on a downward trend for several months.In Europe, major stock indexes fell less drastically — by about 1.5 percent — only because markets had already been on a downward trend for several months.
Futures markets that track the expected performance of stocks in the United States suggested the sell-off could continue.Futures markets that track the expected performance of stocks in the United States suggested the sell-off could continue.
“The global economy and markets are in a delicate situation,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Bank in Frankfurt. “While the status quo is still good, risks are increasing.”“The global economy and markets are in a delicate situation,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Bank in Frankfurt. “While the status quo is still good, risks are increasing.”
[Is this the time to do something urgent with your investments? Probably not.]
The stock rout started in New York on Wednesday, when the Standard & Poor’s 500 index tumbled 3.3 percent, its biggest drop in eight months. It was the fifth day of selling, signaling a change in mood on Wall Street, which had been ebullient amid strong corporate profits.The stock rout started in New York on Wednesday, when the Standard & Poor’s 500 index tumbled 3.3 percent, its biggest drop in eight months. It was the fifth day of selling, signaling a change in mood on Wall Street, which had been ebullient amid strong corporate profits.
But concerns have started to weigh. With signs of rising inflation, the Federal Reserve is expected to ratchet up interest rates further, which could raise the cost of borrowing in the United States and around the world.But concerns have started to weigh. With signs of rising inflation, the Federal Reserve is expected to ratchet up interest rates further, which could raise the cost of borrowing in the United States and around the world.
The market damage was particularly acute in China, where signs of economic softness and worries about the impact of President Trump’s trade war have pushed down stocks for months. Over the weekend, the People’s Bank of China unleashed $175 billion into the economy to help shore it up. Worried about the impact of negative information on its citizens, China has censored negative economic news.The market damage was particularly acute in China, where signs of economic softness and worries about the impact of President Trump’s trade war have pushed down stocks for months. Over the weekend, the People’s Bank of China unleashed $175 billion into the economy to help shore it up. Worried about the impact of negative information on its citizens, China has censored negative economic news.
The tensions with Washington appear to be only getting worse. On Wednesday, United States officials said they had charged a Chinese intelligence official with espionage after he was extradited from Belgium. Washington officials also said on Wednesday they would more aggressively scrutinize corporate deals by foreign investors in the United States, in a move aimed primarily at China.The tensions with Washington appear to be only getting worse. On Wednesday, United States officials said they had charged a Chinese intelligence official with espionage after he was extradited from Belgium. Washington officials also said on Wednesday they would more aggressively scrutinize corporate deals by foreign investors in the United States, in a move aimed primarily at China.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned on Thursday that if tensions continued to escalate, “the global economy would take a significant hit.”Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned on Thursday that if tensions continued to escalate, “the global economy would take a significant hit.”
“Our strong recommendation,” Ms. Lagarde said at a meeting in Bali, “is to de‑escalate those tensions and to work toward a global trade system that is stronger, that is fairer, and that is fit for purpose and fit for the future.”“Our strong recommendation,” Ms. Lagarde said at a meeting in Bali, “is to de‑escalate those tensions and to work toward a global trade system that is stronger, that is fairer, and that is fit for purpose and fit for the future.”
Europe is also vulnerable to a long list of economic risks, including the possibility of Britain’s disorderly exit from the European Union, and fears that Italy could provoke a new eurozone debt crisis.Europe is also vulnerable to a long list of economic risks, including the possibility of Britain’s disorderly exit from the European Union, and fears that Italy could provoke a new eurozone debt crisis.
Italy’s populist government has drawn up a spending plan that would defy European budget rules to fulfill election promises. The market interest rates on Italian bonds have spiked as investors worry that the country might not be able to service its debt, which is equivalent to more than 130 percent of annual economic output.Italy’s populist government has drawn up a spending plan that would defy European budget rules to fulfill election promises. The market interest rates on Italian bonds have spiked as investors worry that the country might not be able to service its debt, which is equivalent to more than 130 percent of annual economic output.
The yield, or market interest rate, on Italian 10-year government bonds reflected those fears on Thursday, rising as high as 3.61 percent after closing at 3.51 percent on Wednesday.The yield, or market interest rate, on Italian 10-year government bonds reflected those fears on Thursday, rising as high as 3.61 percent after closing at 3.51 percent on Wednesday.
Europe’s auto industry is another big worry for investors. Auto shares suffered some of the biggest declines in European trading on Thursday, with Fiat Chrysler falling 4 percent and Volkswagen down more than 3 percent before paring some of the losses.Europe’s auto industry is another big worry for investors. Auto shares suffered some of the biggest declines in European trading on Thursday, with Fiat Chrysler falling 4 percent and Volkswagen down more than 3 percent before paring some of the losses.
European automakers are struggling to meet new, stricter emissions standards, and sales of diesel passenger cars are plunging after courts in Germany ordered cities like Hamburg, Berlin and Stuttgart to impose partial bans on older diesel vehicles.European automakers are struggling to meet new, stricter emissions standards, and sales of diesel passenger cars are plunging after courts in Germany ordered cities like Hamburg, Berlin and Stuttgart to impose partial bans on older diesel vehicles.
The European economy is also slowing. But, in contrast with the United States, central bank interest rates are still at zero and borrowing costs remain low. That was another explanation for the less substantial declines by stock indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt, which were all down less than 2 percent in midday trading.The European economy is also slowing. But, in contrast with the United States, central bank interest rates are still at zero and borrowing costs remain low. That was another explanation for the less substantial declines by stock indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt, which were all down less than 2 percent in midday trading.
“We don’t have the same growth as in 2017, but we have growth,” said Michael Kopmann, a stock market strategist at DZ Bank in Frankfurt. “We are a long way from recession.”“We don’t have the same growth as in 2017, but we have growth,” said Michael Kopmann, a stock market strategist at DZ Bank in Frankfurt. “We are a long way from recession.”
In China on Thursday, tech stocks took the biggest losses including some of the country’s biggest and best-known companies. The internet giant Tencent closed down 7 percent, the telecommunications firm ZTE was down 10 percent and Meituan Dianping, the internet service platform, fell more than 12 percent.In China on Thursday, tech stocks took the biggest losses including some of the country’s biggest and best-known companies. The internet giant Tencent closed down 7 percent, the telecommunications firm ZTE was down 10 percent and Meituan Dianping, the internet service platform, fell more than 12 percent.
In Shanghai, where the market was already in bear-market territory, stocks closed down more than 5 percent, around their lowest level since November 2014. Some market observers questioned whether the government could step in to stem losses, as it did in 2015 when a summer stock market rout set off a global sell-off.In Shanghai, where the market was already in bear-market territory, stocks closed down more than 5 percent, around their lowest level since November 2014. Some market observers questioned whether the government could step in to stem losses, as it did in 2015 when a summer stock market rout set off a global sell-off.
At the time it banned short selling, suspended initial public offerings and prohibited investors who owned more than 5 percent of a stock from selling it. Officials also deployed a “national team” of state-owned financial institutions to buy up stocks and help bolster the market as it tumbled more than 25 percent.At the time it banned short selling, suspended initial public offerings and prohibited investors who owned more than 5 percent of a stock from selling it. Officials also deployed a “national team” of state-owned financial institutions to buy up stocks and help bolster the market as it tumbled more than 25 percent.
In other Asian capitals, there seemed no end to selling. In Tokyo, stocks fell 3.9 percent, while investors in Seoul pushed the market down 4.4 percent. In Hong Kong, where many Chinese companies are listed, the market was down 3.5 percent. The worst hit was Taiwan, where the market plunged 6.4 percent.In other Asian capitals, there seemed no end to selling. In Tokyo, stocks fell 3.9 percent, while investors in Seoul pushed the market down 4.4 percent. In Hong Kong, where many Chinese companies are listed, the market was down 3.5 percent. The worst hit was Taiwan, where the market plunged 6.4 percent.