Global stocks get the jitters

Global markets had a jittery start to the week. VW’s woes weighed, fears over China’s slowdown continued, and investors fretted over the Federal Reserve’s surprisingly dovish decision on interest rates.

Global markets had a jittery start to the week. VW's woes weighed, fears over China's slowdown continued, and investors fretted over the Federal Reserve's surprisingly dovish decision on interest rates. On Tuesday alone the FTSE 100 fell by nearly 3%, dropping below the 6,000 level for the first time since August. It remains around 1,000 points (around 15%) below its all-time peak of 7,123, set in April this year. The decline was mirrored in both Europe and the US, while oil prices fell back below $50 a barrel. Meanwhile, bond yields on "safe haven" bonds, such as US and German government paper, fell.

What the commentators say

The Vix index, Wall Street's "fear guage" is "stuck above 20, indicating lingering stress among investors", said Jamie Chisholm in the Financial Times. And "the amount of margin debt balances at New York Stock Exchange member firms... fell at the end of August for a second consecutive month". This is significant "turning points in margin debt have signalled market tops" before.

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