Wall Street was headed for another day of losses on Monday as new data from China raised fresh concerns about the outlook for the global economy for investors already wary of high inflation, rising interest rates and continuing supply chain disruptions.
U.S. stock futures fell on news that China’s exports slowed significantly in April, as the country’s lockdowns continued to idle millions of workers. Exports of Chinese steel, a barometer of global growth, are unlikely to improve much in May, according to analysts at S&P Global, a research firm. Stocks in Asia mostly declined on Monday.
Oil prices slumped. Both Brent crude, the global benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell about 2.7 percent, to about $109 and $107.
The S&P 500 is coming off its fifth consecutive weekly decline, its longest streak of losses since June 2011.
In 2021, there was seemingly no bad news that could stop the U.S. stock market, with the S&P 500 gaining 26.9 percent. What’s more, trading was remarkably placid given the uncertainty around the coronavirus.
But the volatility and losses that have gone hand in hand with recessions are back.
In 2021, the index had a daily gain or loss of more than 2.5 percent just once, on Jan. 27, as meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment spiked in a speculative frenzy and the Federal Reserve said a resurgent coronavirus was weighing on the economic recovery.
Already this year there have been seven days with gains or losses of at least 2.5 percent — about one in every 12 trading days. All of those big daily changes have been in March, April and May.
Strings of big gains and losses are more typical of recessions and the periods that follow them. Before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the stock market in 2020, the last string of big changes was in 2007-11, during the financial crisis and the recovery from it. Before that, the dot-com boom and bust, and the Sept. 11 attacks, brought volatility.
Outside such major events, it’s more common to have just a few big changes each year. There have even been many years with no such big moves: 10 in the past 30 years.