Global share markets had been set Friday for their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with coronavirus panic-selling hitting almost every asset class and investors fretting that central bank action is probably not enough to soothe the pain.
European stock markets had been slightly higher Friday on hopes governments will increase spending; however, after several sessions of endured, heavy losses as investors witnessed the possibility of a global recession that could be extended.
Warning signs nonetheless flashed, with Italian government bonds falling Friday morning again, after witnessing their worst trade in nine years in the previous session.
Spain and Italy, in the meantime, imposed trading caps, banning short-selling of dozens of stocks, to stop a market rout caused by the coronavirus pandemic that saw European stock exchanges record their worst-ever losses Thursday.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks stocks in 49 nations, reached a three-year low and is down 16% this week thus far — its worst run since October 2008 when Lehman Brothers’ fall prompted the global crisis.
MSCI’s major European Index was up 2.7% at the open, after having dropped over 20% over the past week.
Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei tanked 10% before cutting losses to end 6% lower. Australia’s S&P/ASX200 had its worst trading day on record, falling beyond 8% before soaring in the final minutes of the session to close 4.4% higher at the end
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan edged 0.1% higher by late afternoon after falling over 5% in the morning session.