International markets took a beating overnight, with hefty losses in Europe flowing into the US session.
In London the UK’s FTSE 100 slumped 128 points (-2.2%) to settle at 5596, whilst the French CAC (-3.1%) and German DAX (-2.5%) suffered even heavier falls.
Weak Chinese trade and US jobs data were the catalysts for the weakness, with eurozone markets coming back online after their US counterparts the night before.
Italian and Spanish borrowing costs remained elevated above the German Bund, as the Bank of Spain governor said a strong recovery of the Spanish economy is unlikely in the short term.
Stateside, the Dow Jones lost 214 points (-1.7%), whilst the broader S&P (-1.7%) and tech-heavy Nasdaq (-1.8%) endured similar falls.
It was the fifth consecutive losing session for US stocks, with the recent pullback coming on the cusp of earnings season.
The Aussie dollar slipped lower and is now buying US$1.025, whilst the yen rose for a fifth session versus the greenback and euro after Bernanke said the US recovery is far from complete, spurring demand for haven amid bets the central bank will add stimulus.
Gold climbed to a one-week high in New York, as concern that Europe’s debt sovereign debt woes are deepening spurred demand for a haven investment. The precious metal put on 1% to settle at $1660 an ounce.
Elsewhere, oil dropped to an eight-week low on forecasts that US supplies rose to the highest level for this time of year since 1990 and as equities fell on concern that the euro-region debt crisis will spread. Crude gave up 1.5% to settle at US$100.88 a barrel.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of Westpac consumer sentiment, 11:30am, AEDT, and home loans data, 12:30pm, AEDT.