Markets in chaos amid widespread China fears

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Baxalta International was up 3.8 percent at $42 after reports that peer drugmaker Shire Pharmaceuticals is preparing to announce its roughly $32.5 billion acquisition of Baxalta as early as Monday.

United States stocks closed at their lowest level since early October on Wednesday, weighed down by fresh concerns over China and slower global growth and as energy shares tumbled with oil prices.

Stocks were hit hard Thursday following China’s largest downward adjustment to the yuan since August. In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. The country’s stock market fell more than 7%, triggering a circuit breaker that halted trading after just 30 minutes.

While the Nasdaq is so far the only major United States index to enter a correction, the two others are getting close. The Nasdaq has fallen six days straight. Those halts, which were triggered twice this week, are increasingly seen as inadequate measures to prevent volatility.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,676 to 410, for a 6.53-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 2,431 issues fell and 418 advanced for a 5.82-to-1 ratio favouring decliners. The Nasdaq composite rose 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,708.

United States crude fell 21 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $33.79 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for worldwide oils, lost 48 cents, reaching $33.75 a barrel in London. It has been trading at 11-year lows. Industrial stocks also fell.

Among technology companies, Cisco Systems lost 2.5 per cent and Google parent Alphabet shed 1.6 per cent, but Dow members Apple and Microsoft climbed 0.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,947.

Worries about China have been driven by a decline in the value of the yuan and disappointing economic data.

But there are lots of signs of the rising fear on Wall Street. “They suddenly realized this is not a great idea”, said Tuchman.

That’s a relief because Chinese stocks started the year with an epic 12% nosedive. Wall Street was poised for a solid open, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 1.3 per cent. The index lost 46 points, or 1 per cent, and finished the week down 7.3 per cent at 4644. Chinese markets have already lost 10 percent since the start of the year.

China’s market rose. Spot gold was down 0.73% to $1,100.83. Urban Outfitters climbed 68 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $22.60.

Investors were also unnerved by heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia, a huge oil supplier, and Iran. The stock declined $1.09, or 9.2 percent, to $10.70. Shopping network Evine Live, the former Shop NBC, fell to a new 52-week low of $1.50 per share, finishing the day down 8% (13 cents per share).

 

A woman reacts near a display board showing the plunge in the Shanghai Composite Index at a brokerage in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. United States crude is the lowest it’s been since February 2004. United States stocks are now at three-month lows.

The sell-off came after China let its currency weaken. That sent stock indexes sharply lower in the United States and Europe

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