Shares in London this morning followed Wall Street lower as trading in the UK re-opened after a four-day 2018 Easter break.
New York ended Monday sharply lower after its own stock-market holidays came to an end. Two key factors propelling the losses were negative sentiment towards the price of technology stocks and fears of a US-triggered global trade war.
Hardest-hit was the Nasdaq index, which showcases a number of tech stocks. It lost 2.74 per cent at 6,870.12.
Bearish sentiment spread to Japan and the Far East when trading opened earlier today. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was 0.45 per cent lower at 21,292.29, while in Shanghai the SSE Composite index was down a more modest 0.18 per cent at 3,163.18.
Bucking the trend was the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong, which was 0.44 per cent higher at 30,224.68.
New York’s selling bout followed a three-day market holiday for Easter 2018, Good Friday followed by the weekend. London this morning was open after four days, as Monday was a bank holiday in the UK.
In both cases, the end of the market holidays 2018 seems to have unleashed selling pressure that built up while exchanges were shut.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares lost 0.62 per cent to 7,013.04. The FTSE 250 index, which is more domestically focused and representative of British business, was 0.51 per cent lower at 19,361.29.
Screens also turned red across continental Europe. Frankfurt’s DAX was 0.84 per cent lower at 11,994.96, while the Cac 40 in Paris lost 0.47 per cent in early trading to 5,142.94. Markets were down in Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Zurich and Moscow.
Trading yesterday and today suggests many have concluded that they are over-priced.
President Donald Trump added to the sector’s woes by criticising the pricing of its deliveries through the US Mail and suggesting this ought to change.
More generally, President Trump’s decision earlier this year to raise tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and to target Chinese goods coming into the country prompted a reaction from Beijing yesterday, which responded with tit-for-tat duties on US goods, stoking fears of an escalating trade war.
That gave investors more time to reflect on issues raised during the first three months of the year, and to identify any negative factors.