Top 5 Things to Know in The Market on Thursday

Oct 11, 2018

Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, October 11:

1. Wall Street Selloff Grips Global Markets

Stock markets around the world plunged, continuing steep losses seen in the previous session, as mounting fears about global economic growth and ongoing trade tensions rattled investor confidence.

The selloff started on Wall Street on Wednesday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 posting their biggest one-day drops since early February, while the Nasdaq notched its largest single day selloff since June 24, 2016.

Things then spread to Asia overnight, with all major indices on the continent witnessing major drops.

In China, the Shanghai Composite fell 5.2%, its worst day since February 2016, while the Shenzhen Composite plunged 6.3%. Japan's markets also faltered. The Nikkei 225 dropped by about 4%.

The downbeat mood then gripped Europe, where shares fell to their lowest level in more than 20 months. All of the region's major bourses were trading in the red, with tech stocks bearing the brunt of the selling pressure.

On Wall Street, U.S. stock index futures tanked ahead of Thursday's open.

At 5:30AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were down 260 points, or about 1%, the S&P 500 futures shed 24 points, or around 0.9%, while the tech-heavy NASDAQ 100 futures indicated a decline of 54 points, or roughly 0.8%.

2. Trump Doubles Down on Fed Attacks

U.S. President Donald Trump continued his tirade against the Federal Reserve, laying into the central bank's policy decisions and suggesting it was to blame for Wednesday's sharp market decline.

"I think ... the Fed is making a mistake. They’re so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy," Trump told reporters before a political rally in Pennsylvania Wednesday night.

The president also said that Wednesday's stock market sell-off was in fact a long-awaited "correction."

"Actually it's a correction that we've been waiting for a long time, but I really disagree with what the Fed is doing,” Trump added.

The Fed raised interest rates late last month, its third rate hike this year, and is expected to follow that up with another increase before the end of December, taking the benchmark fed funds rate to 2.25-2.50%.

3. Inflation Data Ahead

Investors will get key inflation data in the morning with the September report on consumer prices set for release at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT).

The data should give clearer signs on the pace of inflation and fresh hints on the frequency of Federal Reserve rate hikes through the end of the year and beyond.

Consumer prices are expected to have risen 0.2% last month and 2.4% over the prior year, according to estimates.

Core inflation, which excludes the more volatile costs of food and gas, is projected to climb 2.3% on a year-over-year basis.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.2% lower at 95.00.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasury prices edged higher, pushing yields lower across the curve, with the benchmark 10-year yield falling to 3.16%.

4. Oil Set for Worst 2-Day Drop Since July

In commodities, oil headed for the biggest two-day drop since July, as a rout in global stock markets rattled investors.

Supply worries also eased after an industry report showed U.S. crude inventories rose more than expected and as Hurricane Michael spared oil assets from significant damage as it smashed into Florida.

U.S. oil futures dropped 1.8% in New York to reach a two-week low of $71.81 a barrel, after sliding 2.4% Wednesday.

Meanwhile, international benchmark Brent Crude Oil futures were at $81.41 a barrel, down about 2%. They earlier touched their lowest since Sept. 28 at $81.31, after closing 2.2% lower in the prior session.

Looking ahead, the U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report for the week ended Oct. 5 at 11:00AM ET.

The data comes out one day later than usual due to the Columbus Day holiday, observed on Monday.

5. Bitcoin Tumbles as Cryptocurrencies Join Global Asset Selloff

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies joined the selloff seen in other assets, with nearly $13 billion of value being wiped out in a matter of hours.

Bitcoin, the world's most valuable digital currency was down around 4.2% at $6,307.10 on the Bitfinex exchange, the lowest level since Sept. 19.

Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down 11% at $201.38.

Meanwhile, XRP was trading at $0.41224, down roughly 12.2% for the day, while Litecoin was down 10.4% at $51.34.

The drop comes amid fresh warnings from financial authorities about the rapid growth of digital coins and the potential threat to the economy.

"Continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system," the International Monetary Fund said in a recent report.