Local experts say stock market plummet isn’t a worry yet

Stock market
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Temperatures weren’t the only thing dropping on Monday. The stock market did as well, with the Dow Jones plunging 276 points by the end of the first day of trading of 2016.

The S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq are also off to the worst starts since 2001. And, global stocks started the new year on a grim note as poor manufacturing reports from China and the U.S. triggered fears about waning growth around the world. The steep fall on Monday prompted Chinese authorities to halt trading by using a new “circuit-breaker” mechanism for the first time.

Still, experts say it is far too early to worry.

“I think everyone was surprised to see it drop that quick,” said Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Humphries.

Humphries said there is no way of predicting how the drop may affect local businesses, especially this early in the year.

Youngstown State University Economics Department Chair Tod Porter agrees. He said it can’t yet be determined if this is a signal of something serious or just a bump in the road.

“I don’t think it’s really possible to say anything about that. Just because the market’s down on one day, it doesn’t really mean that much,” Porter said.

Porter says monitoring China’s economy is important, however. If its growth continues to slow, it could mean China buying less U.S. products.

“The point here is: it’s not so much what’s happening on one day in the stock market, but what’s more likely to happen in terms of the Chinese economy for the rest of the year,” he said.

Most Asian stock markets inched higher Tuesday as China’s benchmark stabilized a day after plunging nearly 7 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index wavered between gains and losses. It was last up 0.1 percent at 3,299.99. Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.3 percent to 18,514.33 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.9 percent to 5,224.40.

Humphries said the U.S. will feel the heat if the Chinese economy continues to slide.

“If you see every week trending that way, every week would be of more concern,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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