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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Global selloff continues on Tuesday after US stocks suffer their worst fall in six years

The only global business story that matters this morning: The global correction in the equities market is gaining steam, and the selloff continues this morning in Asia. The EGX30 was the only regional index to buck the trend yesterday, closing the day up 0.6% in moderate trading.

Wall Street has now erased its 2018 gains after US stocks suffered their worst fall in six years: The Dow Jones Industrial Index and S&P 500 both took hits yesterday, dropping by more than 4%, “the biggest single-day percentage drops since August 2011, a period of stock-market volatility [that was] marked by the downgrade of the US’ credit rating and the eurozone debt crisis,” Reuters says. The Dow alone dropped a record 1,600 points, “its biggest intraday decline in history.” What investors need to think about now is “whether this is the long-awaited pullback that paves the way for stocks to again keep rising after finding some value, or the start of a decline that leads to a bear market,” the newswire says. The Wall Street Journal’s narrative on yesterday is also solid, as is the New York Times’.

Asian shares are down sharply this morning, with “MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shedding 2.8% to a one-month low, which would be its biggest fall in more than a year and a half, a day after it had fallen 1.6%,” Reuters reports.

Need to follow the correction as it unfolds? Bloomberg is love-blogging it and streaming TV on its website.

Other stories we think you might want to read as you shape your thinking on what’s going on:

The big question as the the Financial Times sees it: “Whether the economic outlook in the US and around the world has changed sufficiently to justify weaker financial prices, or whether the correction has come without a definitive trigger, as professor Bob Shiller of Yale University says happens most often when markets turn.”

The selloff “feeds two narratives,” the Wall Street Journal notes, “one involving a brief correction, the other a tale of woe for stock and bond investors.”

Whatever is happening, it may not be good for the global M&A market, where “the most aggressive start to a year of dealmaking” is now in question, the Financial Times writes.

Did that wager on VIX pay off? We noted in the summer of 2017 that someone out there had expected a very volatile fall for US markets, taking a position that could have paid out USD 265 mn if the FIX rose to 25 by October. That didn’t happen, but now? The market rout has shattered the lull in volatility, the WSJ reports, noting that the VIX was at 37 by the close of Monday’s trading session, “shattering a lull in volatility.”

The market sell-off overshadowed Jay Powell’s first day as chairman of the US Federal Reserve and has wiped USD 114 bn from the fortunes of the world’s wealthiest people, Bloomberg reports.

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