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Daily Agenda: Markets Volatile as China Markets Close Again

Chinese equity markets plunge while the yuan and oil fall; World Bank slashes growth forecasts; Yahoo expected to announced large layoffs.

Chinese equity markets collapsed again on Thursday, with trading in Shanghai lasting only minutes before an initial circuit breaker was breached, shuttering the market for the day, with the CSI 300 down 7 percent for the session. Benchmark indexes on primary bourses in China are now off by double digits for the year. The selloff spread to global markets, with the Stoxx Europe 600 off 3 percent in early trading. Meanwhile, the yuan slipped by 0.5 percent versus the U.S. dollar to a level of 6.5646, the sharpest one day correction for the Chinese currency since the surprise People’s Bank of China devaluation last August. Adding to the concern: PBOC year-end data released today indicated that currency reserves had declined for the 12 month period — a first. The selling spread to energy markets, with both West Texas Intermediate and Brent-grade future’s contracts for front-month delivery reaching the lowest level in more than a dozen years.

World Bank slashes outlook for 2016. The official estimate for global gross domestic product by the World Bank was scaled back Thursday as the organization cut expectations for the headline index to 2.9 percent from a prior 3.3 percent for the year. Sluggish demand in primary developing markets was cited as a primary factor in the decision.

Layoffs rumored to begin at Yahoo. Multiple outlets overnight reported that embattle online giant Yahoo is about to lay off up to 10 percent of its workforce as the company struggles to find a new direction for its core business. Activist investors have called for a management change after the planned spinoff of the firm’s Alibaba stake was delayed indefinitely.

Fleming departs Morgan Stanley. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Gregory Fleming, the head of Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division, has resigned. The shift leaves Colm Kelleher as the sole president of the investment bank overseeing all divisions.

Chinese regulators to expand curbs on selling. Official state-run media outlets in China on Thursday announced that the China Securities Regulatory Commission would extend the ban on selling by large and or insider shareholders would be extended indefinitely. New rules were promised that would limit the ability of such key investors to sell their holdings in open market transactions.

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