US markets took a dive overnight, with the Dow suffering a triple digit sell-off amid concerns over slowing global growth. The blue chip index tumbled 176 points (-1.1%) to 16197.
Weighing on sentiment was the disastrous reading on China’s manufacturing sector, which showed the nation’s factory output contracting for the first time in five months.
Fears over a slowing Chinese economy overshadowed other data showing US jobless claims hovering near a six-week low and eurozone manufacturing activity rising more than expected in January.
Yesterday’s sell-off on emerging markets spread to Europe and the US, where the Dow recorded its third straight loss and the S&P ended a two session winning streak.
The S&P500 ended 17 points (-0.9%) weaker, at 1828, whilst the Nasdaq fared a little better, dropping 24 points (-0.6%) to 4219.
In a stark contrast to equity markets, most commodities enjoyed solid gains.
Gold soared to a two month high as the drop in equities triggered safe haven flows into precious metals. Bullion futures added 1.9% to US$1262 an ounce.
Oil was also stronger, even though data showed the first climb in weekly US crude inventories in eight weeks. Front month crude futures put on 0.7% to US$97.37 a barrel.
It was risk off mode in currency markets, with the Aussie and Kiwi dollars copping the heaviest punishment on the back of the Chinese manufacturing numbers.
There is no major economic data due for release today.
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