There was little respite for equity investors on Thursday as the biggest U.S. stock selloff in months rolled through Asia and Europe and futures pointed to another drop at the New York open. Amid cautious trading, core European bonds gained and Treasuries were steady.
The worst of the stock declines were in Asia, where China’s Shanghai Composite gauge closed down more than 5 percent. Taiwan’s technology-heavy TWSE Index plummeted more than 6 percent in the region’s worst performance. By comparison, European losses were more contained, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index and Britain’s FTSE 100 both slipping no more than 2 percent. Italian equities headed for a bear market, however, and LeasePlan Group NV pulled a planned IPO.
A gauge of equity volatility in Europe jumped to the highest in more than four months after Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” as the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, is known, soared the most since February.
Elsewhere, West Texas Intermediate crude slumped back below $72 a barrel amid a broad decline in commodities. Precious metals bucked the trend, and gold jumped. A Bloomberg index of cryptocurrencies dropped as much as 11 percent.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.7 percent as of 11:57 a.m. London time, hitting the lowest in 14 weeks with its sixth consecutive decline. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank 1.8 percent to the lowest in more than 20 months on the biggest tumble in more than 15 weeks. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index sank 1.6 percent to the lowest in more than six months on the largest tumble in more than 15 weeks. Germany’s DAX Index decreased 1.3 percent to the lowest in 20 months. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 3.4 percent, hitting the lowest in almost 17 months with its ninth consecutive decline and the largest tumble in eight months. The MSCI Emerging Market Index sank 3.2 percent, reaching the lowest in about 18 months on its sixth straight decline and the biggest tumble in more than two years.