Stock Market Carnage Means The End Of Cheap Money

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Slumping stock markets around the world are signalling the end of cheap money in the years following the financial crisis.

The markets have seen billions wiped off the value of leading companies.

Indicator boards have glowed red as businesses in every sector have suffered huge cuts in share values.

But the slump is not as bad as some people appear to think. It is not a correction – that is a drop in value of 10% in the short term – and it is not bear market, which is a sustained fall of at least 20%.

Wall Street has seen the Dow Jones Index fall by more than 1,000 points, with similar plunges in Europe and the Far East.

Don’t panic

Even though the decrease seems sharp, the markets have only regressed to the level they were at less than two months ago.

For investors, there is no need to panic.

Professional investors would view many US companies as still over valued even though their shares are now cheaper.

The upsets happen from time to time. The last followed the Brexit referendum in June 2016, although stock market traders can point to plenty more 5% falls in recent years. In 2008, the markets dropped by 5% or more on five separate occasions.

The reason for the market upset seems to be statistics from the US highlighting rising wages, while US gilts have risen.

Spooked investors

Taken together, investors have been spooked into thinking both indicators will spur the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than expected, which will set off higher inflation.

Some institutions and fund managers have pointed out that market reaction to rising gilts does not mean the underlying US or even global economies will suffer, just that some company share prices are regarded as overvalued.

What has happened is the value of pensions has gone down by around £50 billion in the UK within a few days.

The FTSE is down 7% in 2018 after hitting a record high in 2017.

Kames Capital chief investment officer Stephen Jones said: “It is good that the market has made it clear that 2018 is not going to be a repeat of 2017. After too long a period of calm, the last three days have reminded investors that markets have always been occasionally volatile and brutal.”

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