Global stocks crater in worst week in four years; oil crumbles

Fri Jan 8, 2016 4:58pm EST
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By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The benchmark S&P 500 U.S. stock index on Friday notched its worst five-day start to a year on record as fear of a slowdown in China offset a surprisingly strong payrolls report in the United States.

Brent and U.S. crude futures prices extended their weekly slide to more than 10 percent, pressured by unrelenting oversupply and a bleak demand outlook. [O/R]

Stocks had opened higher on Wall Street after data showed the economy created many more jobs than expected in December and previous months were revised higher.

But the S&P 500 hit its session high within five minutes of the open and closed near its session low, down more than 1 percent on the day and 6 percent for the week.

It was the largest weekly drop in more than four years and the largest 5-day slide to start a year on record.

"The market’s reaction (to the jobs report) is something between curious and concerning," said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.

"People are skittish in holding positions. If you are long stocks, you think you might be saved by this jobs report. If they don't go up, you are in trouble.”

Investors fear that China, the second-largest economy in the world, is growing more slowly than expected and could further weigh on commodity prices and global economic growth.   Continued...

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 8, 2016.     REUTERS/Staff/Remote