As global investors are still grappling with the Greece bailout situation, China surprised the world with yet another bank reserve ratio hike.
The S&P 500 Index is down 1.29 percent, or 13.91 points, to trade at 10,064.56 at 10:03 a.m. EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1.53 percent, or 155.69 points, to trade at 9,988.50.
Financials are struggling and basic materials lost some steam, after leading the market rally yesterday. Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index is down 1.54 percent and the Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials Index is 2.08 percent.
Consumer stocks will also be eyed today as the U.S. retail sales growth for January released this morning beat expectations while the University of Michigan consumer sentiment report fell below expectations.
After China stock markets closed today, authorities there announced that they would raise the bank reserve ratio by another 0.50 percent, to 16.50 percent, even though the Chinese Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure reported earlier this week was lower than expected.
China unveiled this decision ahead of a week long hiatus for the Chinese stock market. Chinese markets will be closed because of the Chinese New Year and trading will resume on February 22.
So far this year, any announcement of Chinese monetary tightening has shaken world markets. Announcements of lending restrictions and bank reserve hikes have sent world markets tumbling.
While the Chinese stock market participants will have plenty of time to digest this news, assets abroad are reacting to this news.
Since 4:40 am EST, the Australian dollar fell about 100 pips against the U.S. dollar. Australia relies heavily on China to import its commodities.
Oil and copper fell today after the news. Oil partially rose yesterday on news that the International Energy Agency raised their oil demand forecast on increased Chinese consumption.
Crude futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange were down 2.6 percent to $73.29 at 9:43 a.m.
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