Dow Average Falls 300 Points in China-Fueled Global Equity Rout

U.S. stocks extended their three-month lows, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 300 points amid a China-led rout that continued to engulf equities around the globe.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 1.7 percent to 1,956.58 at 9:34 a.m. in New York, on track for its lowest level since Oct. 2. The Dow lost 308.69 points, or 1.8 percent to 16,597.82 after yesterday capping its worst three-day start to a year since 2008.

Equity markets worldwide tumbled after Chinese stock exchanges closed less than a half hour after opening, as a more than 7 percent plunge triggered a market-wide halt for the second time this week. European stocks tumbled as much as 3.6 percent.

A flight from risky assets in the first week of the new year has wiped more than $ 2.5 trillion from global equities, made worse by China’s central bank cutting its yuan reference rate for an eighth straight day. China’s tolerance for a weaker yuan is being seen as evidence policy makers are struggling to revive an economy that’s the world’s biggest consumer of energy, metals and grains.

The move revived the angst that sent financial markets into turmoil last summer, driving U.S. stocks to three-month lows yesterday in a selloff led by commodity producers. Comments by billionaire George Soros exacerbated market jitters after he told an economic forum in Sri Lanka today that global markets are facing a crisis and investors need to be very cautious.

A weaker yuan would support China’s flagging export sector, but it also boosts risks for the nation’s foreign-currency borrowers, and heightens speculation that the slowdown in Asia’s biggest economy is deeper than official data suggest.

While investors cope with the turbulence sparked by China, another source of consternation is looming as the corporate earnings season for 2015’s final quarter soon begins. Alcoa Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Intel Corp. are scheduled to report results next week. Analysts forecast profits for companies in the S&P 500 fell 6.1 percent last quarter.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker reiterated in a speech this morning that the pace of interest-rate increases is expected to be gradual, but dependent on the economic outlook. He also expressed confidence inflation will move back to the Fed’s 2 percent goal “over the near term.” Chicago Fed President Charles Evans also due to deliver remarks on the outlook this afternoon.

A report today showed fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the U.S. labor market remained robust entering 2016. The government’s December jobs report is due tomorrow, with economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecasting a 200,000 gain and the unemployment rate holding at 5 percent.

Source : Bloomberg

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U.S. Stocks Fall as Dow Average Marks Longest Slump Since 2011

U.S. stocks declined, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its longest slide since 2011, amid declines in commodity producers while data showed continued progress in the labor market.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.3 percent to 2,077.76 at 4 p.m. in New York, closing above its average price during the past 200 days after earlier falling below the level. The Dow slipped 0.3 percent, falling for a seventh day to a six-month low.

Data today showed employers added 215,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate held at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent. The gain in payrolls followed a 231,000 advance in June that was bigger than previously estimated. While the report also showed a pickup in hours worked, average hourly earnings climbed a less-than-forecast 2.1 percent from a year earlier.

The Federal Reserve is assessing the strength of the U.S. recovery from an early year slowdown as policy makers debate whether the world’s largest economy can withstand the first rate increase since 2006. Traders were pricing in a 56 percent probability of the first increase next month.

Source: Bloomberg

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