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Asian Markets Unsettling, But European Markets Find Some Calm

Asian markets tumbled into negative territory after shedding gains in the early hours, reflecting broader sentiment which is centred around China’s slowdown, the oil rout and a generally weak global economic outlook.

More panic

Among major Asian indices, the Shanghai SE Composite Index shed the most, down by 3.23% to 2,880.48, hovering at the lowest level since December 2014. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng too nosedived by 1.70%, losing 320.83 points to 18,565.47, breaching three-year lows. According to analysts, uncertainties and the volatile global currency environment is the cause of the sell-off.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 pared early gains and went into the red to close the session 398.93 points down, or 2.43% to 16,017.26. Foreign investors were net sellers in Japan last week as well, which recorded an outflow of 358.3 billion worth of shares for the week ended January 16.

Before the market opening, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had fixed its yuan mid-point at 6.5585, which is seen as a stable number in relation to prior fixes of the bank.

Europe in the green, US mixed

European markets breathed easy during the morning hours. England’s FTSE 100 gained 1.77% while Germany’s DAX was up by nearly 2%. Europe’s Euronext also traded higher by 2.2%.

It remains to be seen if European markets’ optimism continues  as investors across the globe are concerned about the direction of the global economy while oil continues to trade below the $30 level.

Dejected with the oil slump and slowdown in China, broader U.S. markets were mixed today. Oil prices have shed nearly 30% since the beginning of the year, though there was a slight bounce today that is now fading a little. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is still marginally up while the S&P 500 Index is barely up 5 points after a stronger rally earlier in the day. $2 trillion worth of market cap has been lost already this year.

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