U.S. and European stock markets saw a sudden 0.5% drop in hefty volumes around 1130 GMT (0730 EST) on Tuesday, leaving traders scratching their heads.
Nasdaq stock futures fell 0.5% in four minutes while the S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 0.4%. They later added more losses to trade 2% and 1% lower respectively.
Europe’s benchmark STOXX 600 (.STOXX) index also turned negative during the quick-fire selloff and was last trading 1.1% lower.
“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.”
However, others disagreed.
“Calling the wobble in the markets this morning a flash crash is a bit of hyperbole,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
The volatility appeared to boost demand for safe-haven bonds, with the…