Global stocks fail to find solid footing after meltdown

Traders work in front of the German DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, Feb 9, 2016.
Traders work in front of the German DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, Feb 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Stocks worldwide resumed their downward slide on Tuesday a day after a massive sell-off as investors failed to shake off dogged fears over economic weakness, banking woes and a gloomy oil price outlook.

European indices were in the red in mid-afternoon trading having failed at earlier attempts to find some support in the wake of sharp losses on global exchanges on Monday.

Paris' CAC, which earlier slid 2.45 per cent and below 4,000 for the first time in 14 months, was slightly firmer at around 1500 GMT (11pm Singapore time) but was still 1.4 per cent lower.

Following suit, the DAX was down 1.1 per cent, while the FTSE was 0.75 per cent lower.

Elsewhere in Europe, Madrid earlier plummeted 3 per cent to dip below the symbolic 8,000 point level, while Milan was also more than 3 per cent lower weighed down by banking shares.

Athens fell nearly 5 per cent at one point.

"European stocks are trading broadly to the downside, with basic materials and oil and gas stocks remaining in sell-off mode, as crude oil prices have reversed to the downside," analysts Charles Schwab said in a note to investors.

"But financials are leading the drop as concerns toward the impact on the sector of the heightened global volatility persist," it added.

Wall Street didn't escape the gloom either. In early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2 per cent, following heavy falls on Monday.

Asia had earlier picked up the baton, resulting in Tokyo's main index plunging more than 5 per cent as investors sought the safety of the yen.

Gold, seen also as a haven in times of economic turmoil, hit a seven-month high above US$1,200 an ounce on Monday. It slipped back slightly Tuesday to trade at just under US$1,190.

"If yesterday was a bad day for Western indices, it certainly followed suit in Asia," said Brenda Kelly, head analyst at trading firm London Capital Group.

"All this negativity in risk assets has helped to push gold towards the key US$1,200 an ounce level as the fear of risk taking manifests itself in the rush to safe havens."

Tokyo stocks led a rout across Asian markets Tuesday, while Japanese government bond yields turned negative and the dollar dived against the yen on fears over the global economy.

With most of the region closed for the Chinese New Year holiday, trading was thin, while the dealers stuck at their desks took the lead from New York and Europe where banking shares were battered on Monday.

The equities sell-off is the latest this year, which has seen trading screens from Asia to the Americas awash with red.

The latest round of blood-letting came on the back of worries about the financial sector as the global economy slows down, without the support of the Federal Reserve's easy monetary policies.

Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, has felt compelled to reassure investors that it has sufficient cash to pay its riskiest debts, as banking shares around the world take a hammering on slowdown fears.

In a short statement late Monday, the bank - whose shares have plummeted by nearly 40 per cent since the beginning of the year - said that it has more-than-sufficient means to pay coupons on its riskiest debt both this year and next year.

In late afternoon trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange, Deutsche Bank shares were among the biggest losers, shedding 3.44 per cent to €13.35.

An unexpected drop in German industrial production in December, as well as a decline in exports, has meanwhile cast a shadow over the outlook for Europe's biggest economy, analysts said on Tuesday.

"Overall, the figures deal a further blow to expectations that growth in the German and euro zone economies will pick up in 2016," said Jonathan Loynes of research group Capital Economics.

The European Central Bank would therefore need step up its stimulus, he argued.

The Paris and Frankfurt exchanges had lost more than 3 per cent on Monday, with the German DAX ending below 9,000 for the first time since October 2014. London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.75 per cent at 5,646.81 points Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.07 per cent at 8,883.16 Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.42 per cent at 4,008.76 EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.24 per cent at 2,750.50 Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 5.4 per cent at 16,085.44 (close) New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 per cent at 15,995.51 Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1269 from US$1.1193 on Monday Dollar/yen: DOWN at 115.05 yen from 115.84 yen