Global stocks tumbled on Thursday following Wall Street’s worst day in nearly two years, amid growing concern about inflation’s impact on economic growth and company profitability.
The Stoxx Europe 600 sank 2.3 percent, pulled lower by tech and consumer companies. Major indexes in European countries fell by more than 1 percent, with Britain’s FTSE 100 down 2.7 percent. The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.9 percent and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped 2.5 percent.
After the S&P 500 fell 4 percent on Wednesday, futures signaled that the benchmark index would drop more than 1 percent when the U.S. market opens on Thursday. The index’s slide means it is nearing a bear market, Wall Street’s name for a sustained downturn, commonly defined as a 20 percent decline from a recent peak. At the close of trading on Wednesday, the S&P 500 had dropped 18.2 percent from its Jan. 3 record.
Shares in Cisco fell 14 percent in premarket trading after the U.S. tech company warned on Wednesday that shutdowns in China, supply disruptions and the impact of the war in Ukraine would eliminate revenue growth in the current quarter. Markets were already spooked this week after consumer giants Walmart and Target said high prices were eating into profitability and changing customers’ spending habits.
The rout in stocks and concerns about global growth increased demand for the relative safety of government bonds. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes dropped 6 basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 2.82 percent, back to its level in late April and before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point. The yield on Germany’s 10-year bund declined 10 basis points, to 0.93 percent.