Stocks drop as a world of worries bedevils investors.

China’s sputtering property market, soaring European natural gas prices and a potential Federal Reserve timeline for scaling back stimulus are causing jitters.


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Stocks drop as a world of worries bedevils investors.

Steel coils at the ThyssenKrupp factory in Duisburg, Germany. The price of iron ore, a key component of steel, has fallen, causing shares in mining companies to fall sharply.Credit…Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Sept. 20, 2021, 7:17 a.m. ET

Stocks on Wall Street were set to slump on Monday morning as indexes across Europe tumbled amid a string of concerns for investors — including the troubled Chinese property giant Evergrande, soaring energy prices in Europe and questions over how the Federal Reserve will manage its exit from its large bond-buying program.

The S&P 500 was set to open 1.1 percent lower on Monday, futures indicated. The S&P has dropped for two consecutive weeks, and is down more than 2 percent since it hit a record on Sept. 2. Futures on the Nasdaq composite were down 1 percent.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.8 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain was down 1.6 percent, the DAX in Germany declined 2.2 percent and CAC 40 in France fell 2.1 percent.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 3.3 percent, to its lowest in nearly a year. Most other Asian markets were closed for a holiday.

Investors pushed the Hong Kong-listed shares of some of China’s biggest property developers deep into the red amid worries that Evergrande’s spiraling debt woes could spill over, affecting the funding abilities of other developers at a time of heightened regulatory scrutiny. Hong Kong shares of the Chinese developer Sinic Holding fell by 87 percent after regulators in one Chinese province said they would punish certain sales practices by developers.

In commodities markets, high natural gas prices in Europe are sending energy bills soaring and causing factories, such as those that make fertilizer, to shut down in Britain. And the price of iron ore, the main raw material in steel, has dropped, sending the stocks of mining companies sharply lower. For example, shares of Anglo American fell 7.9 percent and Glencore shares were down more than 5 percent.

This week, more than a dozen central banks, including those in Japan, Britain and Switzerland, will meet and set policy.

But most traders are likely to be focusing on the Federal Reserve, which is expected on Wednesday to discuss a timeline for when it will begin slowing bond purchases that are aimed at shoring up the economy. Some economists expect the Fed to signal that it will start winding down the bond purchases later this year. The central bank could then begin to raise interest rates the following year.

The Fed will also update its forecasts for economic growth and inflation.

Investors in the United States will have few other data points to guide them this week. The National Association of Realtors will publish data on home sales activity on Wednesday. Sales of existing homes are expected to have fallen slightly in July, economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast, after two months of gains.

On Tuesday, investors will also be watching FedEx’s quarterly financial report for the three months ending August, as supply chain problems could hamper the company’s revenue. General Mills is set to publish its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.

Alexandra Stevenson contributed reporting.

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