May 24, 2019 - Economy

Markets worldwide decide it's time to panic

Having largely held up as traders bought the trade war dips, stocks tumbled on Thursday along with just about every other risk asset.

What happened: A spate of weak manufacturing reports from around the globe and more trash talk from the U.S. and China may have finally broken the camel's back.


  • The S&P 500 closed more than 1% lower.
  • Asian stocks fell to a 4-month low.
  • Germany's DAX dropped 1.8% and Italian stocks were off more than 2%.
  • MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe fell 1.3%.

"Now that it's become clear that the risks are out there, the (equity) market has to price them in," Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading, told Reuters' Herb Lash. "There should be more downside."

  • Currencies: The dollar strengthened to its highest since May 2017, but reversed course late in the day. The safe-haven Japanese yen rose 0.75%.
  • Commodities: The S&P GSCI Total Return, a popular commodity index, fell 3%, and oil had the worst day in 6 months, sinking more than 5%.
  • Bonds: Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields fell to their lowest since October 2017, 30-year yields hit their lowest in nearly a year and a half, and 2-year yields touched their weakest level since February 2018.

What to watch: The yield on 3-month bills rose above the 10-year note, again signaling an inversion the Fed calls the most accurate predictor of a recession.

  • Treasury yields from 2 years to 10 years are currently trading below the Federal Funds Rate.

Go deeper: The world can't afford a trade war right now

Go deeper