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Friday, February 12, 2016

Global bear market looks to get worse

2016 bad start continues and it's no longer a question of whether it's a bear market or not. It's a question of how bad will this bear market looks like.

According to Bloomberg report, the global equity bear market was poised to deepen in Asian trading, with index futures foreshadowing losses from Hong Kong to Japan amid soaring demand for haven investments.


Here's a quick look at how the rest of the world is performing.

The yearlong decline in global equities that started with a selloff in energy became a full-blown bear market Thursday as a rout in bank shares extended losses in the broadest worldwide gauge past 20 percent.

The MSCI All-Country World Index slipped 1.3 percent, pushing its decline since May to 20 percent and marking the biggest retreat from risk since Europe’s sovereign debt crisis in 2011. Every industry has fallen since last year’s record high with decreases exceeding 25 percent in financial stocks and 30 percent in energy and commodities.

Equities markets have been hurt by almost everything, starting with China's slowdown to the selloff in oil and rising US interest rates. This led to the worst start to a year on record. The oil industry continued to be a baggage to the rest of the world and it's rippling through financial markets amid growing indicators that the credit quality is becoming worse. US bonds are also indicating the slowest inflation since May 2009 as investors flee for haven assets.

The global markets are not getting the help they need from US either as the world's biggest economy was sluggish enough to keep Janet Yellen's Fed from hiking rates until December and now corporate earnings are eroding. 

The spread between an index tracking global stocks outside the U.S. and the MSCI All-Country index is now the smallest since Aug 2015.

US stocks' decline continued on Thursday as Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 250 points as shares of financial and raw-material companies lost at least 2.2 percent. 

Comments by Fed chair Yellen that market turbulence could weigh on the outlook for the economy didn’t assuage investors as the S&P 500 plunged as much as 2.3 percent during Yellen’s testimony to Congress.

And while that may seem a lot, the equity gauges in the US have held up in comparison to other developed markets. The S&P 500 has lost 11 percent in 2016, compared with declines of at least 18 percent in German stocks and the Euro Stoxx 50 Index. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index is down 22 percent on the year and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has erased 15 percent.

With the U.S. fourth-quarter earnings season more than halfway done, just 52 percent of companies in the S&P 500 reported profit growth in the fourth quarter. While energy companies and materials shares have led the decline, all but three sectors reported shrinking profits. Analysts estimate earnings at companies in the gauge fell 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter, and will drop another 6.3 percent in the current period.

The rest of the world is doing no better as prospects for profit growth are dwindling, according to monthly data from Citigroup Inc.’s Earnings Revision Index, which tracks changes in analyst estimates for corporate profits. Cuts to those estimates outweighed upgrades by the most since 2009 last month. The gauge shows analysts have expected more cuts than upgrades since August 2014.

While energy and materials shares have led equities downward with declines of at least 31 percent, pain has been felt everywhere. All 10 primary groups in the MSCI All-Country index have declined since the index touched a high in May 2015, with financial companies, consumer discretionary and tech shares adding onto losses in 2016.


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