(Reuters) – World stocks sold off sharply on Monday while safe-haven assets gained as troubles at property group China Evergrande fed concerns about spillover risks to the economy, sparking fresh investor worries ahead of a busy week of central bank meetings.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.63%, its biggest one-day percentage fall day in about two months, as Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 sagged 1.7% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 2.2%.
Investors moved into safe havens, with U.S. Treasuries gaining in price, pulling down yields, and gold rising.
Shares in Evergrande, which has been scrambling to raise funds to pay its many lenders, suppliers and investors, closed down 10.2% at HK$2.28.
Regulators have warned that its $305 billion of liabilities could spark broader risks to China’s financial system if its debts are not stabilized.
“It started with the problems with the China Evergrande real estate company and I think it just has become a contagion,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Everybody was kind of afraid of September for this very reason,” Tuz said. “It seems to be the month that… you have significant selloffs and here we go.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 614.41 points, or 1.78%, to 33,970.47, the S&P 500 lost 75.26 points, or 1.70%, to 4,357.73 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 330.07 points, or 2.19%, to 14,713.90.
Economically sensitive sectors, including financials and energy, were hit particularly hard. Still, stocks pared losses late with U.S. indexes ending above their session lows.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.67%, with mining stocks sliding.
The selloff on Monday has seen a cumulative $2.2 trillion of value wiped off the market capitalization of world equities from a record high of $97 trillion hit on Sept. 6, according to Refinitiv data.
(GRAPHIC: China CDS – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/jnpweyarzpw/cds.PNG)
Worries over Evergrande come as a rally in equities has stalled recently with investors focused on the impact of coronavirus cases on the economy, and when central banks will ease back on monetary stimulus.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday as investors look for when it will begin pulling back on its bond purchases.
Investors were also keeping an eye on other central bank meetings spanning Brazil, Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.
In currency trading, the dollar index rose 0.02%, with the euro up 0.01% to $1.1726.
The offshore Chinese yuan weakened versus the U.S. currency to its lowest level in nearly a month.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 16/32 in price to yield 1.3158%, from 1.37% late on Friday.
The iShares exchange-traded fund tracking high-yield corporate bonds fell 0.4%.
U.S. crude settled down 2.3% at $70.29 per barrel and Brent settled at $73.92, down 1.9% on the day.
Spot gold added 0.6% to $1,764.30 an ounce, rising off of a one-month low.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York and Tom Arnold in London; Additional reporting by Anushka Trivedi and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru, Saikat Chatterjee in London, Karen Pierog, Herbert Lash and Chuck Mikolajczak in New York and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Graphic by Sujata Rao; Editing by Jane Merriman, Mark Potter, Jan Harvey and Cynthia Osterman)