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World stock markets rebound from rout

Oct 12 2018 13:57

Global stock markets staged a mild rebound on Friday, one day after ferocious losses sparked by heightened economic concerns, notably over rising US interest rates that have drawn attacks from President Donald Trump on his "crazy" central bank.

Asia enjoyed healthy gains, with star performer Hong Kong surging 2.1%, Shanghai up 0.9% and Tokyo adding 0.5%, at the end of a traumatic week for investors worldwide.

The rebound was tame however, with Hong Kong and Shanghai slumping 3.5% and 5.2% respectively on Thursday.

Europe chased Asia higher on Friday, with Frankfurt up 0.5%, Paris gaining 0.4% and London winning 0.7% as investors scooped up cheaper equities, which are widely regarded as a risky bet in times of economic turmoil.

The dollar recovered versus the euro and yen, while oil futures bounced back.

"The brutal selloff that engulfed global stocks this week took a pause on Friday as risk sentiment slightly improved across financial markets," noted analyst Lukman Otunuga at trading firm FXTM.

"In Europe, stocks continue to march higher on positive global cues which could support Wall Street later in the afternoon.

"Although positive trade data from China and reports of US President Donald Trump meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit next month has rekindled risk appetite, stock markets are not out of the woods yet," Otunuga added.

The futures market pointed to gains worth several hundred points when the Dow Jones opens later Friday, after the US index lost more than 1,300 points in a two-day stocks bloodbath.

'Absolute shocker of a week'

Analysts cautioned that the US earnings season - which cranks into action later on Friday - could indicate whether markets have bottomed out or not.

"Today's rebound appears to offering a brief respite for investors at what has been an absolute shocker of a week," noted CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"While today's respite is welcome it remains to be seen whether we have seen the bottom in the short term.

"The beginning of US earnings season later today could well offer clues with particular attention likely to be on companies' forward projections for profit and revenue guidance."

US banks Citigroup, JP Morgan and Well Fargo are scheduled to post their latest numbers.

Friday's fightback followed two days that have seen something approaching panic in global equity markets, as investors took fright in the face of rising US interest rates and an intensifying trade war between Washington and Beijing.

The global sell-off was also due in part to Trump describing the policies of the US Federal Reserve as "loco" and "crazy", sparking concerns over the independence of the world's top central bank.

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed on Friday the stocks plunge in Wall Street, saying it was "just a natural correction", in an interview on CNBC.

After a volatile session on Wall Street on Thursday, the Dow Jones ended 2.1% down, taking its losses for the week to more than five percent and closing at the lowest levels in months.

Most other markets around the world have now bounced into the black heading into the weekend.

'Semblance of sanity'

"There's a semblance of sanity returning to the markets, but we are no nearer a significant recovery," said Oanda analyst Stephen Innes.

Markets are "exhausted after the most significant sell-off in global equities since February," he added.

Most market watchers saw last week's surge in 10-year US Treasury bond yields as the catalyst for the two-day rout on Wall Street.

Yields spiked at an unexpectedly fast rate, prompting worries about a sudden acceleration of inflation and more aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

Separately on Friday, oil prices rebounded from sharp losses a day earlier - but gains were tempered after the International Energy Agency watchdog trimmed its global crude demand growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019.

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equities  |  markets  |  global markets
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