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Market Commentary - Page 6

The effects of slowing economic growth in China are spreading to the world’s developed markets. Europe and Japan are feeling it most at this point because China is the top export destination for Europe (led by Germany) and second-most for Japan. The combined value of those exports exceeds $300 billion annually.

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After a lousy start to 2016, the U.S. equity market lately has delivered better news to stressed-out investors.

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Investors have been flocking to gold as a safe haven from unsettled markets, but as we have seen in recent days, gold can carry some volatility of its own.

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Stock market volatility is showing no signs of easing off, with the year-to-date loss for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index reaching 10% on Tuesday. Investor angst is plain to see in the S&P’s wide intraday price swings, in the VIX “fear gauge,” a volatility index that was up 12% Monday and a few percent more Tuesday, and in the stampede into safe-haven assets like Treasury bonds and gold.

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The price of oil is once again flirting with $30 a barrel, which is refueling those nagging worries about slower economic growth here at home as well as in China, Europe and elsewhere. Growth fears have been the primary source of downward pressure on global stocks and riskier bonds in 2016, with the result being a “flight to safety” upswing for Treasuries and gold.

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