European stocks are getting pounded

European stocks are taking a pounding on Friday as investors flood into safer, less risky bonds amid worries about the global economy.

Around 11:20 a.m. BST (6:20 a.m. ET) all of Europe’s major indexes are down in excess of 1.5%, with several seeing losses of more than 2% on a day that is a rare exception to the holding pattern stocks have been in for the past few weeks.

The biggest loser so far on the day is Italy’s FTSE MIB, down 2.54% to 17,340, pushed lower by weak banking stocks. Investors continue to worry about the impact of negative interest rates in the eurozone and their impact on bank profitability, as well as the ongoing woes surrounding the stability of Italy’s financial sector.

Three banks are down more than 5%. Here’s how the MIB looks so far today:

Elsewhere, the FTSE 100 is also seeing big losses, down 1.62% to 6,131 points, with a combination of commodity, airline, and financial stocks pulling down the index with losses of more than 3%. Only two stocks, security group G4S and oil giant Shell, are in the green. Here’s the FTSE:

Here’s the scoreboard for the rest of the biggest indexes on the continent:

  • German DAX: down 2.16% to 9,871
  • French CAC 40: down 1.88% to 4,323
  • Spanish IBEX 35: down 2.30% to 8,567
  • Eurostoxx 50: down 2.18% to 2,924

Mike van Dulken from Accendo Markets says investors are reacting to a weak day in Asia, are worried about negative bond yields, and are worried about what the Fed’s June meeting and Britain’s EU referendum could mean for the global economy.

Here’s what he said in his daily email round-up a little earlier (emphasis ours):

Equity indices have gone for a dress-down and risk-off Friday,with major support levels breached or seeing meaningful tests. This is derived from Asian bourses following their stateside peers south as negative bond yields become more prevalent, calling into question global monetary stimulus efforts while growth and inflation struggle to recover post-crisis. And with event-risk related to next week’s Fed policy update and a too-close-to-call UK referendum on EU membership the week after, investors are continuing to temper their appetite for risk assets into the week-end. Apprehension likely stems from what bearing China data (Industrial Production, Retail Sales, Investment) will have on sentiment come Monday morning as well as a US dollar bounce hurting the commodity space, taking oil from its 2016 recovery highs.

As equities tumble, bond yields are diving to record lows as investors flood the market for the safer asset.

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