Global markets endured a hefty selloff overnight with significant losses on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Europe the UK’s FTSE 100 shed 135 points (-2.3%) to settle at 5704, whilst the French CAC (-2.7%) and German DAX (-2.8%) also slumped sharply.
Stateside, the Dow Jones let go of 125 points (-1%) to settle at 13075, whilst the S&P 500 (-1%) and Nasdaq (-1.5%) were off a similar amount.
It was the second biggest decline of the year for the S&P, with all markets suffering at the hands of a disappointing Spanish bond auction.
Also weighing on sentiment was a revised reading of eurozone business activity in March, which confirmed contraction, as well as a decline in eurozone retail sales in February.
In US economic news, 209,000 new private-sector jobs were added in March, roughly in line with expectations for an increase of 200,000 jobs.
The private-sector jobs report is seen as a preview to the government employment report due Friday.
Separately, a reading on service-sector activity in March came in a touch below expectations.
The Aussie dollar continued its recent slide and is currently buying US$1.028, whilst the euro fell to the lowest in almost a month against the US dollar after demand declined at a Spanish bond auction, adding to concern the region is struggling to overcome its sovereign-debt crisis.
Gold fell to a 12-week low on signs that the US Fed won’t provide more economic stimulus, boosting the greenback and eroding the appeal of precious metals as alternative investments. Silver tumbled 6.7%.
Elsewhere, oil tumbled after the Energy Department said US stockpiles surged the most since 2008 as domestic crude output climbed to the highest level in 12 years.
There is no major local economic data due out for today’s session.