Stocks were slammed Thursday in the worst trading day in 18 months, and investors sought safety in bonds, fearing a meltdown in emerging markets currencies and commodities is signaling a broader global malaise.
The moves are occurring in a late summer vacuum, void of news but full of speculation and even a bit of superstition, as some traders try to liken the latest EM currency rout to the Asian collapse in the late 1990s. And some are noting, too, that the selloff in stocks is happening just in time for September, historically the worst month for stocks.
Some traders say the unsettled markets may have more to do with speculation about whether the Fed will raise interest rates soon, further damaging emerging markets, and whether there's something direr brewing in China's weakness that will result in a deflationary spiral around the world. The 10-year Treasury yield edging frighteningly close to 2 percent, commodities were mixed, with U.S. crude futures slightly higher, and gold rallying more than 2 percent.