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Global stocks tumble after President Trump’s ‘crazy’ comment about the Federal Reserve

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Asian markets plunged Thursday morning following the worst session on Wall Street for months, as US President Donald Trump said the Federal Reserve had “gone crazy” with plans for higher interest rates.

The benchmark Nikkei 225, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Composite all plummeted more than three percent in early morning trade, as investors fretted about surging interest rates and an ongoing trade war.

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“All bets are off,” warned Stephen Innes, head of trading at OANDA, adding that the markets “are fraught with peril.”

“The US equity bloodbath is taking no prisoners in Asia as a sea of red greets investors at the open, as equity deleveraging and liquidation intensifies,” he said.

Taiwan plunged nearly six percent, with Seoul down three percent and Sydney and Singapore both falling two percent.

The steep drop in Asia followed a decline on Wall Street of nearly 830 points, the biggest fall since February, amid Trump’s latest criticism of the Federal Reserve, the US central bank.

“I think the Fed is making a mistake. It’s so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy,” Trump told reporters as he arrived for a campaign rally ahead of the US mid-term elections.

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He has frequently criticised the US central bank for gradually raising interest rates.

Trump has repeatedly touted Wall Street records as proof of the success of his economic programme, including his confrontational trade strategy.

But he downplayed the first major drop in months, saying, “it’s a correction that we’ve been waiting for a long time.”

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– ‘Not panicking’ –

The rout in US shares followed substantial losses on European bourses, due in part to tensions between Brussels and Rome over Italian budget plans that have revived fears about the eurozone.

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Bourses in Paris and Frankfurt both lost more than two percent, while London fell 1.3 percent.

“The selling is not panicking but it’s persistent,” Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said of the proceedings. “It’s all about investors rethinking their exposure to stocks.”

Many of the biggest US names fell hard in Wednesday’s session, with Apple, Boeing and Facebook all slumping more than four percent and Amazon, Nike and Microsoft shedding more than five percent.

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Stocks have been under pressure since the yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds jumped above three percent last week, a sudden move that raised fears of an overheating economy, speeding inflation and more aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate increases.

Last week’s jump in yields followed strong US data but many analysts have been anticipating a change in the dynamics in the bond market due to expectations that central banks in Europe and Japan will soon phase out bond-buying programmes.

“It’s shifting the tectonic plates,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors.

The turmoil on stock markets came a day after the International Monetary Fund slashed its global growth forecast on worries about trade wars and weakness in emerging markets.

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In other markets, oil prices fell sharply on worries that Hurricane Michael, which is battering the US state of Florida, will dent demand for gasoline and other petroleum products.

– Key figures around 0200 GMT –

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 3.3 percent at 25,330.98

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.6 percent at 2657.55

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Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 3.5 percent at 22,683.13

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1561 from $1.1523 at 2100 GMT on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3233 from $1.3190

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.10 from 112.35 yen

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN $1.07 at $81.99 per barrel

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Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 82 cents at $72.21 per barrel

New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 3.2 percent at 25,598.74 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 3.3 percent at 2,785.68 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 4.1 percent at 7,422.05 (close)

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London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.3 percent at 7,145.74 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 2.1 percent at 5,206.22 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 2.2 percent at 11,712.50 (close)


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‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted

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MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.

"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."

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Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

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President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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