A day after posting strong gains, European shares fell sharply Friday as uncertainty regarding a key U.S. jobs report weighed on investor sentiment. Stocks across Asia ended the day in the red.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 dipped 1.6 percent at the open, mimicking the earlier performance of Asian stock markets. London’s FTSE 100 fell 1.5 percent while Germany DAX and France’s CAC 40 both dropped over 1.6 percent despite Thursday’s comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi who said that the ECB was ready to provide more stimulus to prevent the eurozone’s economy from being hit by worries over China.
“Markets are worried about a too strong U.S. job report which could spark the Fed into hiking rates in September,” Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, told Reuters. “The Fed uncertainty, together with the worries about China, will keep markets volatile over the next couple of weeks and potentially until the end of October.”
The volatility was clearly visible in Asian bourses earlier Friday, when Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed 2.1 percent down after briefly hitting a new seven-month low. South Korea’s Kospi Composite index dropped 1.5 percent, while India’s Sensex traded down over 2 percent.
If the U.S. Federal Reserve decides to hike interest rates later this month, the turmoil in global stock markets, which are already reeling under China’s surprise decision to devalue the yuan last month, is only expected to get worse.
“The timing of a rate hike doesn’t matter for the [U.S.] economy,” Ryan Sweet, director of real-time economics for Moody’s Analytics, told Yahoo Finance. “But it will matter for financial markets.”