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Market Overview:  China’s stock market slump affrays investors

US stocks fell sharply with the US major indices recording the worst first trading week after the New Year in a history triggered by slumping Chinese stocks and oil traded near 12-year lows. Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.32% yesterday to 16,514.10 and Nasdaq Composite fell 3.03% to 4,689.43. S&P 500 lost 2.37% to 1,943.09 with all its ten sectors closing in the red. If we look at their weekly fall, Dow has already lost 5.2% which is the worst post-New Year performance since 1928, Nasdaq has lost 6.4% and S&P 500 has lost 4.9%. Apple, the US most valuable company that operates a lot in China, saw its stocks falling 4.2% on slumping Chinese market and concerns over the slowing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus shipments. Trading volume on the US exchanges was far above the average of 7.2bn shares this week with 9.9bn shares having changed hands. Today investors are anticipating the December change in US non-farm payrolls and the December unemployment rate at 14:30 CET.

European stocks slumped on Thursday on further yuan depreciation by the People’s Bank of China which weighted on financial markets all over the world. Investors are concerned that the yuan devaluation may imply that the China’s economy is weaker than considered which may have a negative effect on the world economic growth. The EURUSD rate fell 0.5% to $1.0880 while the FTSEurofirst index and STOXX index lost 2% each. Speaking of the national indices, Germany’s DAX 30 lost 1.4% and UK’s FTSE lost 1.6%. Today the European stock indices are slightly gaining ground back following the Asian markets.

Asian stocks are rebounding today after the severe fall yesterday caused by yuan depreciation in China and the upward movement may support the European markets today. After the trading was suspended yesterday in China, the People’s Bank of China set a firmer yuan midpoint rate at 6.5636 per US dollar. The blue-chip CSI300 index added 2.7% while Shanghai Composite Index added 2.6%. Nevertheless, investors remain worried about the ambiguous China’s economic conditions.

Nikkei 225 closed 0.4% lower while the USD JPY fell to 118.35 yen a dollar after the yesterday’s 4-month high for yen of 117.33. investors were closing their position preferring to stay out of the market ahead of the US jobs report and the three-day holidays in Japan.

Oil prices are hovering near new historical lows with Brent oil prices falling yesterday 2.1% to $33.27 a barrel and WTI falling 1.6% to $33.69 a barrel. During the trading oil prices slid down below $33 a barrel but later managed to pare some losses. Excessive production, record stockpiles and worries about the China’s slowdown drive lower the commodity prices. Some analysts believe oil is likely to test $30 a barrel in the near future. Nevertheless, oil is rebounding today gaining around 2% on stronger Chinese market.

Gold futures edged up 1.5% to $1,109 an ounce with gold gaining ground as a safe haven asset amid tumbling financial markets. No surprise that given the today’s rebound in the global stock markets, gold is edging about 1% lower.

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