Global shares stabilize, but US stocks set to drop

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As a result, the biggest losses went to high-dividend companies such as utility and real estate companies whose stocks become less appealing than bonds to investors seeking income. Investors could be wary of investing in stocks seeing the rise in long-term U.S. yields as well as a significant surge in stock market volatility.

"However once this kind of stampede starts it's hard to stop". The Japanese Nikkei 225 plunged 4.7%, while the Shanghai composite pulled back 3.4%.

The S&P energy index.SPNY was up more than 1 percent, led by Anadarko Petroleum's (APC.N) 5 percent gain and an uptick in oil prices.

The selling has persisted into European trading hours, though at a more moderate pace.

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The drop comes on the heels of a similar plunge Monday that erased the stock market's gains for the year. The TSX is down 8.2 per cent from its all-time high of 16,412.94, set on January 4.

The market's main gauge of volatility, the CBOE Volatility Index.VIX, was at 30.5 points on Friday, down 3 from Thursday and well below the two-and-a-half-year high of 50.30 on Tuesday.

The market's main gauge of volatility, the CBOE Volatility Index, opened at a relatively elevated 32.18 on Friday, almost three times what it was a week ago but lower than a two-and-a-half-year high of 50.30 points hit on Tuesday.

Mnuchin said that he was not "overly concerned about the market volatility".

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The question now is whether "this draws a line under the recent stock market correction or whether this is merely a dead cat bounce", currency analysts at ING wrote in a report on Wednesday.

But that hardly describes how frightening the past few days have been for investors. It has been an uncommonly long time since the last market correction, which ended nearly two years ago.

The sell-off is reportedly driven by a fear of central banks hiking interest rates to contain inflation, as dwindling unemployment drives up wages. Strong economic performance and prospects with the then-recent United States tax reforms had fuelled a bull market which saw the measure's value rocket up 1,000 points in 12 days. The last fall of that size came in August 2011 when investors were fretting over Europe's debt crisis and the debt ceiling impasse in Washington that prompted a USA credit rating downgrade.

Toronto's TSX index also felt the pressure, tumbling 271 points, closing at 15,334.81. "It takes away what many considered to be easy money". Gold, for example, was up 0.5 per cent at $1,343 an ounce.

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Tuesday, with the Dow sitting down roughly 100 points, or 41 basis points, Apple was one of the biggest gainers of the day, up 2.61% to $160.58 at the time of writing. The euro was up 0.4 per cent at $1.2415 while the dollar rose 0.1 per cent to 109.22 yen.

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