The one positive of this, even if some of it is depressing, is that there'll be life on the other side, writes Adriaan Basson.
Asian markets mostly rose Thursday as investors breathed a sigh of relief that US senators have finally passed a gargantuan stimulus package for the world's top economy after being delayed by wrangling over details.
"If affairs start to get out of control, the market sell-off will be profoundly uglier than any of the previous crises."
S&P 500 futures lost more than 4% in less than 5 minutes, prompting a trading halt.
It is now trading around the R650 level from almost R1 500 towards the end of last year.
The rand moved 1.1% stronger in early trade on Monday, as markets appear to be taking a "breather" from the sell-off from the previous week, says an analyst.
Banking giant HSBC's lackluster earnings and intention to cut 35,000 jobs also weighed on world markets.
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Panic coursed through the world's second-largest equity market as investors sold stocks on concern a deadly virus will worsen over China's week-long trading break.
Gold climbed to a three-month high to clinch its best annual performance since 2010, as a weaker dollar helped cap a year marked by global economic jitters and trade frictions.
The Covid-19 oubreak has triggered a sell-off in markets which have not responded well to stimulus measures by central banks.
The JSE Top 40 also had a tough morning, compounding last week's losses to trade down more than 5%.
The local bourse closed softer on Thursday after another whipsaw session.
Markets have been roiled by the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China.
Ensign Peak Advisors, the investing arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spilled the beans on its $40 billion stock portfolio.
"Nobody can explain it, it's so far beyond any fundamental return that any shareholder could ever expect," the ex-Ford, GM, and Chrysler exec said.
The online-shopping giant's founder and CEO sold more than 1.7 million shares, or about 3% of his total holdings.
"We simply don't know what the impact or even the potential impact could be. We only have SARS in 2003 to base assumptions on."
"When you look at the geopolitical strife, how many foreign entities really want to hold dollars?" Bridgewater co-chief Greg Jensen told the Financial Times.
The local bourse edged higher on Wednesday on the back of modest gains across all the major indices.
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