Another Rough Day on Wall Street?
HONG KONG (AP) -- Chinese stocks nosedived Thursday, triggering their second daylong trading halt this week and sending share markets, Asian currencies and oil prices lower as investor jitters rippled across the globe.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 7.3 percent to 3,115.89 before "circuit breakers" suspended trading for the day. The Shenzhen Composite Index for China's second smaller stock exchange slumped 8.3 percent to 1,955.88.
Chinese stock trading was also suspended on Monday after the market plunged.
The tempest in China's markets has been felt around the world. Foreign investors have little direct involvement in Chinese financial markets, but the size of China's economy means the wild gyrations are a source of concern internationally.
The latest slump comes after China's government guided the yuan lower over several days, an indication authorities are prepared to weaken the tightly controlled currency to boost flagging exports. The yuan rate was set Thursday morning at 6.5646 to the U.S. dollar, the weakest in nearly five years, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing data from the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.
In early European trading, France's CAC 40 was down 2.5 percent at 4,367.97 and Germany's DAX slid 3.1 percent to 9,899.50. Britain's FTSE 100 cratered 2.3 percent to 5,933.74. Futures augured sharp losses on Wall Street. Dow and S&P 500 futures were each down 2 percent.
The Shanghai benchmark has dropped 12 percent so far this year, which is barely a week old. Thursday's market plunge may have been exacerbated by investors rushing to sell before they were locked out by the automatic trading suspension, some analysts said.
Among other Asian stock markets, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 2.3 percent to 17,767.34 and South Korea's Kospi lost 1.1 percent to 1,904.33.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 3.1 percent to 20,333.34 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 retreated 2.2 percent to 5,010.30.
Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also fell.
Oil prices touched their lowest in more than a decade. Benchmark U.S. crude futures fell $1.43, or 4.2 percent, to $32,54 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract on Thursday dropped $2, or 5.6 percent, to settle at $33.97 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell $1.24, or 3.7 percent, to $32.99 a barrel in London.