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Wall Street's rout, oil's slide and China's market meltdown

Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance

What a rough way to start the week.

China's market meltdown triggered a steep global stock sell-off today.  After a dramatic drop at the open-- the Dow was down more than 1,000 as trading began-- U.S. stocks recovered ground. But the Dow (^DJI) and Nasdaq (^IXIC) having fallen 10% from recent highs were in correction territory during the day. Yahoo Finance's Senior Columnist Michael Santoli called it "one of the most wild days in years, if not of all time, because of the huge point swings which we hadn't seen before."

So is the worst over or is there more to come, as China's problems cannot be solved overnight?  Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer points out the economic fundamentals are strong in the U.S.  Serwer says today's market rout happened not only because of China's market plunge but also because stocks were "priced to perfection."

To put today's drop at the market open in perspective, it wasn't the biggest.  The S&P 500's largest daily percentage loss was in 1987 when it fell nearly 20 percent.  Runners up for largest daily loss include several sharp declines in 2008.  "We're not close to what happened in 2008," says Serwer who points out that those declines were "driven by an economic meltdown, a mortage meltdown." 

But can China's problems become bigger problems here in the U.S.?  "It's very hard to me to draw the line to see how this becomes a systemic issue," says Santoli.  He says yes, China's slowed growth could be a drag but there is no clear link to the U.S. banking system and consumer system.

Oil prices were down too hitting new 6 1/2 year lows. It's part of a broader sell-off in commodities.

So much for a sleepy end to the summer!