European markets have been open for around half an hour, and things are ugly.
England’s FTSE is down. 1.4%.
France’s CAC 40 is down 1.7%.
Germany’s DAX is down 1.9%.
Spain’s IBEX is down 1.5%.
Italy’s FTSE MIB is down 1.9%.
This follows sell-offs in the U.S. and Asia. Japan’s Nikkei fell by a stunning 7.3%.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that the Fed could start tapering its quantitative easing (QE) program during one of its next few FOMC meetings depending on economic data. QE is one of the Fed’s economic stimulus programs, which is intended to lower interest rates through bond purchases.
Over in China, the Flash Manufacturing PMI unexpectedly plunged to 49.6 from 50.4 a month ago. A reading below 50 represents contraction, and this is the first sub-50 reading in seven months.