April 2014 – ECONOMICS – Global equity markets fell on Friday as fears on Wall Street about over-stretched stock valuations spread to Asia and Europe, pushing investors to the safety of bonds. The Nasdaq composite, which has been pounded in recent days as investors bailed out of high-flying technology and biotech shares, reversed early gains to fall more than 1 per cent. The index, which on Thursday recorded its biggest single-day percentage loss since November 2011, fell below the 4,000 mark for the first time in more than a month. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index was also lower after failing to hold a brief rebound and was on target for its worst week since January. The Nasdaq biotech index, down more than 20 per cent from late February, slid 2.5 per cent after an earlier comeback. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries notes tracked the ups and downs on Wall Street, paring gains early in the session, then rising in choppy trade. With equities lower, the 10-year bond rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.6175 per cent. “This equity market meltdown has brought a ‘fear’ bid into bonds,” said Larry Milstein, head of government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co here. A benchmark of global equities fell to a two-week low, spurred by a broad risk-averse tenor among investors that led to selloffs in higher-yielding currencies and emerging market assets. “There’s been contagion from the correction in the United States, which is probably not over. But the fact is, this is mostly a US correction,” said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading at Global Equities in Paris.
“People are getting out of overvalued sectors and looking for bargains elsewhere. The market’s positive longer-term trend is still intact, this pullback will just remove the froth.” The slide in global equities persisted in the wake of disappointing quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase & Co , the biggest US bank. This exerted more pressure on the benchmark S&P’s 500 index, which on Thursday had suffered its biggest one-day drop in two months. Shares of JPMorgan sank 3.1 per cent to U$55.60 (RM180), while the S&P financial index lost 0.9 per cent and was the worst performing S&P sector. MSCI’s all-country world equity index fell to lows last seen in late March and was last trading down 1.0 per cent. European technology stocks led sectoral falls with a 2.5 per cent decline, echoing US declines. The tech sector in Europe had rallied more than 40 per cent since November 2012 through the start of April. ARM, whose chip designs are featured in smartphones such as Apple’s iPhones, fell 4.5 per cent. The dollar index, which measures the currency against six major currencies, rose 0.1 per cent, and the dollar edged higher against the yen, up 0.09 per cent. The euro rose slightly against the dollar. “Bad news for the world is good news for the dollar,’ said Steven Englander, managing director and global head of G10 FX strategy at CitiFX in New York. “Once fears about the equity market intensified, they picked up a more conventional type of mode to buy the dollar.” –New Strait Times