Stock markets fell largely on Friday, as traders booked profits at the end of a turbulent week for global shares amid increased fears about struggling Chinese property giant Evergrande.
Evergrande’s silence on an interest payment due Thursday heightened investors’ concerns about the potential ramifications of the property company’s demise.
Indexes fell across most of Asia and Europe, but Wall Street finished little changed, capping up a tumultuous week that saw equities fall, then rally.
“This morning’s stall is unsurprising. The major indices have gone a great way in a short period of time and, as a result, are considered as needing to take a breather for a while “According to Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.
News from China also sent cryptocurrencies down, as the authorities declared all digital asset transactions illegal.
Bitcoin, which had already been decreasing in value prior to the announcement, fell as much as 8.9 percent before recouping losses to stand at $42,967, down about four percent.
US traders interpreted the Fed’s decision to trim its huge stimulus program on Wednesday as a vote of confidence in the world’s top economy.
In addition to Evergrande, Charles Schwab analysts said that “the prolonged standoff among lawmakers on whether to lift the debt ceiling, the Delta variation and supply chain difficulties continue to fester.”
Nike, the world’s largest sportswear company, addressed supply chain issues on Thursday by lowering its sales projection for the next three quarters.
Meanwhile, Brent oil prices have risen to a three-year high, boosted by constrained supply, notably in the United States.
Market participants are keeping a tight eye on Evergrande, as there has been no indication that it has paid interest to offshore bondholders on a note due Thursday.
While the company has a 30-day grace period before being classified in default, the lack of information is making investors nervous.
Fears that the company, one of China’s largest developers in the important property sector, would fail and bring others down with it sent markets into a tailspin at the start of the week, jolting the domestic economy and maybe abroad.
For the time being, however, there is a widespread belief that there will be no “Lehman Moment,” as when the bankruptcy of Wall Street behemoth Lehman Brothers in 2008 triggered a global market crash.
Prior to Friday, stock markets had enjoyed a couple of solid days on what appeared to be diminishing fears about Evergrande.
However, its stock price fell more than 11% on Friday after rising more than 17% the day before.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom in Asia, as the Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex index broke through the 60,000 barriers for the first time.