FTSE 100 tumbles after dramatic losses across U.S. and Asia

London pre-open: Stocks seen lower on weak US, Asian cues; services PMI eyed

Global markets have now fallen 10% from their highs, placing the stock market sell-off firmly in "correction" territory, though the drop is not yet heavy enough to be classed as a bear market.

United States stocks plunged overnight during a highly volatile day of Wall Street trading with the Dow Jones falling by more than 1,150 points, erasing all the gains it has made for the year.

London's blue-chip index lost more than one per cent in the first half hour of trading to hit its lowest point since 8 December.

"For what it's worth, sentiment has improved from overnight pricing which at one point pointed to a 350-point opening loss for the FTSE 100". In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 index slumped 1,071.84 points, or 4.7 per cent, to 21,610.24m and in Paris the CAC 40 fell 3.1 per cent.

The sell-off followed a painful week for U.S. equity investors, culminating in the biggest one-day sell-off on the benchmark S&P 500 index in two years.

The Dow Jones closed 4.6% down yesterday at 24,345 points - its worst daily points decline in its 122-year history and wiping out all of 2018's gain - while the S&P 500 recorded a loss of 4.1% to trade at 2,649.

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The pace of the sell-off quickened on Friday, after strong USA jobs data prompted investors to reassess the pace of interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve, before descending into panic in late U.S. afternoon trading yesterday.

The market's slump began on Friday as investors anxious that creeping signs of higher inflation and interest rates could derail the market's record-setting rally.

That could be painful for markets that have been propped up by central banks' stimulus for many years.

James Bateman, the chief investment officer for multi-asset at Fidelity International, is bouyed by the movements.

"Yet in a world where the concept of a "correction" nearly feels alien and where equities felt like an unstoppable one-way bet for a while, the normality of a setback can feel more painful", he added.

"Holding this course as volatility eases won't seem easy - but at this stage of the cycle, the money is made by keeping your head when others are losing theirs". Like other commodities, oil is priced in dollars making it more expensive when the U.S. currency appreciates.


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