Slowing Global Growth Stokes Investor Fear as Markets Head Lower

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 200 points to begin Thursday morning’s market session as slowing global growth continues to stoke investor fear.

The European Commission pared down its 2019 growth outlook for the euro zone, saying global trade tensions and other issues will drag on its largest economies. The Commission said growth will slow to 1.3 percent compared to 1.9 percent for 2018, but is forecasting a subsequent rebound in 2020 to 1.6 percent.

The lowered outlook fanned the proverbial flame of global economic growth slowing. The S&P 500 dipped 1 percent lower while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.10 percent.

Companies who have reported fourth quarter earnings thus far are showing a profit increase of 14.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to data from Factset. However, some companies have also tempered their profitability guidance for future quarters.

“The market is pricing in a down Q1 but they’re pricing in a positive Q2 and Q3,” said Andrew Slimmon, managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “The risk is that Q2 slips to zero and now you’re talking about two consecutive quarter of negative earnings growth, which is technically an earnings recession.”

“The reason why the market has not focused on this yet is there was such an overwhelmingly high level of bearishness at the beginning of the year,” Slimmon added.