MARKETS SPECTATOR: Bulls run scared

High hopes for a fast global economic recovery have been hampered by the latest data and investors are fleeing risk in droves.

As global finance ministers meet in Washington this weekend to discuss the global economy, investor perceptions that things are on track for a slow but steady recovery have been, in the words of one analyst, "blown out of the water".

Nomura’s Australian stock strategist Tim Rocks says there is a "complete dislocation in every asset class", while the week's market falls, particularly in commodity stocks, have been "savage".

This volatility in commodity prices has been reflected in bond and foreign exchange markets too, and the myth peddled by central banks that printing money will underpin economic activity and restore confidence in stock markets has been punctured somewhat. Instead of taking on risk, investors are fleeing it and mining stocks have been hit especially hard.

Stock markets have hardly been helped by the bombings this week in Boston, nor morose economic figures out of Germany and the UK or China’s first-quarter GDP coming in below expectations.

Fasten your seatbelts.

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