$4 trillion wiped off stocks; market rout continues

Stock markets around the world continued to fall on Tuesday for a fourth successive day of declines — a rout that has seen $4 trillion wiped off the value of shares.

The original trigger for the sell-off in shares was a rise in US bond yields late last week after data showed US wages increasing at the fastest pace since 2009.

That increased fears of higher inflation and higher interest rates — both of which could hurt markets that have been propped up by central banks’ stimulus for many years.

“Playtime is officially over, kids,” wrote analysts at Rabobank.

“Rising volatility painfully reminds some investors that one-way bets don’t exist.”

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 fell 4.6% and 4.1% on Monday, their biggest falls since August 2011.

Europe’s decline sent the STOXX 600 to its lowest level in six months.

The euro STOXX volatility index, Europe’s main “fear-gauge,” saw its biggest spike since the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 3.4%.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 4.7%, its worst fall since November 2016.

“Ten-year treasuries at four-year highs — does this herald the start of a bond bear market? Or are we simply returning to a more ‘normal’ cycle of higher yields and higher interest rates?” said Graham Bishop, Investment Director at Heartwood Investment Management.

more to follow …