Stock markets fall 0.5% in minutes, leaving traders perplexed By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. and European stock markets saw a sudden 0.5% drop in hefty volumes around 1130 GMT on Tuesday, leaving traders scratching their heads and one calling it a “micro flash crash”.

Nasdaq stock futures fell 0.5% in four minutes while the fell 0.4%, but later recouped some of those losses. Europe’s benchmark index turned negative and traded 0.6% lower as of 1211 GMT.

“Not a great deal of movement in other assets but equity futures hit an air pocket,” said an equity sales trader based in London.

“Looking at the price action and volume, a sense the machines took over for a second and resulted in a micro flash-crash.”

The volatility appeared to boost demand for safe-haven bonds. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yields dropped almost 2 basis points to 1.591% before creeping back above 1.6%.

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