Global stocks fall on global growth worries, dollar slips

Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:43pm EST
 
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets fell sharply on Friday as slumping oil prices raised concerns about slower growth, while the dollar slipped against the yen on views the Bank of Japan may not ease policy as much as expected.

Trading in crude oil and the bond market was volatile, while stock investors were skittish in the wake of the euphoria that followed the U.S. Federal Reserve's first interest rate hike in almost a decade on Wednesday.

Wall Street accelerated its slide into the close, with the Dow closing more than 2 percent lower and the broad market S&P 500 down almost as much. All S&P sectors declined, led by a 2.51 percent fall in financial stocks .SPSY, and the S&P 500 notched its biggest two-day percentage loss since Sept. 1.

The sell-off appeared tied to lower oil prices and the Fed's move, and not options expiration, said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

"The market is more sensitive to oil than anything else," he said.

MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS fell 1.28 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of leading European shares closed down 1.05 percent at 1,419.35.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI lost 367.39 points, or 2.1 percent, to 17,128.45. The S&P 500 .SPX fell 36.37 points, or 1.78 percent, to 2,005.52 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC shed 79.47 points, or 1.59 percent, to 4,923.08.

The yen gained after the BoJ merely tweaked its monthly asset-purchase program. The move halted the dollar's ascent, fueled in recent months by views that the Fed's likely decision to raise rates and the BoJ's path of more potential stimulus would drive investment into higher-yielding U.S. assets.   Continued...

 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid