European stocks hold steady amid the chaos of the growing global market sell-off

trader point screen chartReuters / Lucas Jackson

  • European stocks are broadly holding firm, although some indexes are seeing losses on Thursday as the sell-off gripping global markets moves into another day.
  • Losses on the continent are muted, with Britain's FTSE 100 the biggest loser of major indexes, down around 0.6%.
  • A handful of European indexes, including Italy's FTSE MIB and France's CAC 40, are trading higher, up 0.7% and 0.3% respectively.
  • Drops follow a near 4% loss for Japan's Nikkei during the Asian trading session, and a bloodbath on Wall Street on Wednesday.

European stocks are broadly holding steady on Thursday, although some indexes are nursing losses as the sell-off gripping global markets moves into another day, following a tough session in Asia which saw Japan's benchmark Nikkei share index lose almost 4% of its value.

Losses in Europe are far more muted than the Nikkei's fall, but smaller indexes in nations including Switzerland and Belgium have lost more than 1% in the first 45 minutes of trading, while Britain's FTSE 100 is the biggest loser of the major indexes, trading down around 0.6%.

A handful of European indexes, including Italy's FTSE MIB and France's CAC 40, are actually trading higher, up 0.7% and 0.3% respectively.

Thursday's falls in both Asia and Europe stem from a bloodbath of a day in the USA on Wednesday, which saw the Nasdaq lose more than 4%, and the Dow Jones drop more than 600 points, or 2.4%. The Nasdaq's fall on the day pushed the index into correction territory.

A combination of worries have weighed on Wall Street in the past few weeks, with some anxious the Federal Reserve's plans for raising interest rates further are set to restrict growth.

Adding to concerns, China reported last week that economic growth fell to the lowest level in a decade in the third quarter, exacerbating concerns about the country's economic slowdown.

"What makes the latest volatility more troubling is that it's been difficult to identify one specific cause," Kerry Craig, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management said on Thursday morning.

"There are many symptoms but no one can diagnose the illness," she said. "Geopolitics, rising bond US bond yields, a more hawkish looking US Federal Reserve, slowing Chinese growth, a strong US dollar and the already well known problems in some emerging economies have all contributed to the market unease."

European stocks must also contend with the European Central Bank's upcoming October meeting later on Thursday. The meeting is not expected to contain any great surprises, with policy and guidance likely to be unchanged from the central bank's last meeting in September.
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