By Alex Fitzpatrick
January 15, 2016

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the trading day down nearly 2.4% Friday, amid fears over plummeting oil prices and a slowdown in China.

The rout, which also saw the S&P 500 drop 2.16%, squashed hopes that American markets might dodge the turmoil plaguing international trading floors late this week. It was the worst ten-day start to a year since records began.

Oil’s fall to levels not seen since 2003 spooked investors for two reasons. First, it’s a nasty turn of events for energy firms, some of which are among the world’s biggest companies. But more broadly speaking, oil is seen as a proxy for global demand. Falling oil prices suggest overall demand is low, a sign the global economy may be cooling off.

China’s deceleration is another bad sign for investors, as any downturn on the part of the world’s second-largest economy is sure to have negative impacts across the global economy.

 

Write to Alex Fitzpatrick at alex.fitzpatrick@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST