China is struggling to restore confidence after an extended plunge on the Shanghai stock exchange, along with global market jitters over an ongoing growth slowdown and questions over its communist leaders’ economic management skills.
Shares of energy producers turned mixed as oil prices edged up in early Asian trade.
Wall Street’s Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) was off 265.94 points, or 1.61 percent, to 16,244.25 in early afternoon trading, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 34.75 points, or 1.77 percent, to 1,932.22 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 103.50 points, or 2.14 percent, to 4,725.45.
A pedestrian taking shelter from rain walks past an electronic board showing the stock market indices of various countries outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, September 4, 2015.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 topped 1 percent even though Germany’s DAX was stuck in neutral.
In Asia, at the start of the global trading week, equities markets sold off. Damage included 1.5 percent to 2 percent falls in Australia, Korea and Malaysia. Shares of vehicle giant Volkswagen fell 19 percent after it was found to have cheated US emission tests. Many traders believe that the weakness in the euro could also be on the back of reports that the European Central bank could look at increasing its quantitative easing program in the near term on the back of the Federal Reserve holding its interest rates for the near term.
Elsewhere in the euro zone, Alexis Tsipras was set to form a new government in Greece after his left-wing Syriza party won a second general election in less than nine months.
The comments came after San Francisco Fed President John Williams said on Saturday that a 2015 US rate hike was still likely.
Oil and other commodity markets also rebounded after falls at the end of last week, although for the most part it was unconvincing and emerging market currencies continued to strain amid the global growth worries.
Fresh worries have also emerged about the health of the global economy and its impact on oil demand after the Fed, the USA central bank, held off raising benchmark interest rates last week.
USA crude futures were up 1.3 percent at 45.24 United States dollars per barrel.
“Generally, markets are a bit more positive today”, said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets in London.
U.S. Treasuries prices fell as USA equity markets rallied and two top Federal Reserve officials spurred sales of debt by suggesting that a year-end US interest rate increase was possible.
Gold retreated from a near three-week high as strength in stocks and the dollar dampened a rally.
The euro rose to $1.1310 in Singapore from $1.1299 in late New York trade Friday and advanced to 135.62 yen from 135.57 yen.